After a lackadaisical first half, Risco awoke in the fourth quarter to get past the pesky Rebels. Risco went on a 13-3 run to start the fourth, led by senior Rodulfo Johnson, who had a quick six points in the midst of the run. Leading 65-48 with 3:18 to play in the game, the Tigers never looked back and cruised to the hard-fought win.
"We lacked some defensive intensity in the first half," said Risco head coach Brandon Blankenship. "I don't know if we were tight or nervous, but we definitely started the tourney with some first-game jitters. We picked it up a little in the second half, but this game was by no means a demonstration of what we are capable of doing."
Led by seniors Andrew Halford and Robert Fowler, who each had seven points in the first quarter, Risco jumped out quick against the Rebels and led 23-15 after one. Justin Kersey kept Southland in the game early with eight points in the quarter.
Southland gained some momentum in the second quarter by going on a 7-2 run to start the second and close to within three points, 25-22. The Rebels did outscore Risco in the quarter, 16-14, but trailed 37-31 heading into halftime.
Junior Ricky Davis hit two 3-pointers in the first half and led the Tigers with 14 points at the break. Halford also hit two 3's in the half and had 12 points. Brice Earnheart was steady at the point guard position for Risco and had five assists by the half.
"We shot the ball well in the first and it gave us a little cushion," said Blankenship. "It is a good thing we were hitting our shots, because I thought we got beat on the boards."
Southland cut the Risco lead to 41-39 with 5:30 to play in the third quarter and were led by Shayne Cole who had four points and an assist to lead the Rebels in the third.
Risco did not let Southland get any closer the rest of the game and proceeded to go on a 11-4 run, to lead 52-43 with two minutes to go in the third quarter. Halford scored seven of Risco's 11 points in the run and buried a 3-
The Tigers made the huge run early in the fourth quarter and besides the play of Johnson, Levi Newsom hit a 3-pointer and Fowler continued his dominant play in the post. Although only listed at 6-feet-0, Fowler could not be stopped and scored many of his buckets on shear determination.
"(Robert) Fowler picked up the slack for us," said Blankenship. "He just played huge for us in the paint."
Fowler led Risco with 21 points and had six rebounds. Halford ended his night with 20 points and five rebounds. Davis had 16 points, while Johnson chipped in with 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Tigers. Earnheart continued his stellar play at the point for Risco and had a game-
high nine assists.
Blankenship thought that the play of Tyler Meadows helped spark his Tigers.
"Tyler was involved in several key plays there in the second half," said Blankenship. "He was key to our run with points, assists and rebounds. We needed that effort and hopefully it will translate to our next game."
Kersey led Southland with 19 points and 10 rebounds (six offensive). Cole had 17 points with five rebounds, while Garrett Cude chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds (five offensive).
Southland won the rebounding battle 30-28 over Risco and dominated on the offensive glass, 16-9.
Risco was more effective passing the ball and had 21 assists compared to eight for the Rebels. Risco committed 13 turnovers as a team with 11 steals. Southland had 16 turnovers, compared to seven steals.
Risco (14-10) will face the No. 2 seed Scott County Central tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Gideon High School.
Scott Central 100, Delta C-7 41
The Scott County Central Braves eased past the Delta C-7 Chargers in first round action of the Class 1, District 1 Tournament at Gideon High School, with a 100-41 win on Monday night.
The Braves got out of the gates running in the first quarter, outscoring the Chargers 35-8. Scott Central never looked back after the first and led 67-20 at the half.
Freshman Drew Thomas led the Braves with 19 points. Caleb Johnson added 16 points and Pershad Owens had 14 points. D.D. Gillespie and Richard Brownlee chipped in 10 points apiece for Scott Central.
Sloan Richardson led the way for the Chargers with 20 points. Danny McGee added 12 points.
Scott Central (14-13) advances to the semifinals and will face Risco tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Gideon.