(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
BLOOMFIELD -- The Stoddard County Conference Tournament got underway on Monday evening, with no big surprises as the two top-seeds in the tournament both notched victories in their opening round games.
In the night-cap, the No. 7 seed Richland Rebels started out red-hot, but watched the No. 2 seed Puxico Indians take control and hang on for the second-round berth as they won over the Rebels by a final score of 55-45.
Richland looked to be in control early as they jumped out to an early lead, but once they hit double-digits on the scoreboard, the Indians came to life, as they went on a 14-0 run to go up 22-10. From that point on, all Richland could do was try to play catch-up, as Puxico held a comfortable lead after one quarter, 17-10, and after one half, 30-19.
After the break, the Rebels looked to capitalize off of poor ball control early in the third quarter, but the Indians calmed down, and remained steady in all aspects of their game, including the free-throw line where they were a near perfect 13-for-14 shooting.
On the flip-side, Richland wasn't too poor at the charity stripe either, going 8-for-9, but inconsistent ball-handling down the stretch led to turnovers, in which the Indians turned into points, en route to the 55-45 victory.
The Rebels never could catch-up with Puxico's quick offense, as the closest they would make the score was a difference of six points.
Proving that they are a strong No. 2 seed, the Indians now advance to the second round where they will face the winner of the Advance vs Bernie game, scheduled for tonight at 8:30 p.m.
"We knew coming into tonight that Puxico was a good team," Richland head coach Casey Knight said. "They were very patient, and very well-coached. I thought our effort was good at times."
"Fundamentally, we did some good things," he added. "Defensively, we had problems losing our man, and gave them little cuts. I give them all the credit
--they were patient on offense, and they ran it until they got it."
Knight added that the Rebels' last contest of the year will be against Puxico, on the Indians' home floor.
Leading the way for the Puxico was Matt Allison with 16 points, and John Smith with 15. David Crain added 13 points in the win.
For Richland, Nick Harris scored 14 points, while teammate Mac Thornton chipped in with 10.
With the loss, the Rebels fall from the tournament, and their next game will be at home against Dexter Jan. 29.
Richland is now 8-8 on the season.
In earlier varsity action, the No. 1 seed Bell City Cubs rolled to victory over the No. 8 seed Woodland Cardinals, 87-55.
The Cubs jumped out to an early lead, as seven players scored in the first quarter, giving Bell City the cushion they'd need to eventually empty the bench, as all but one player made a mark on the score sheet by the final buzzer.
After one half, the Cubs led Woodland 38-28, but the second half was all Bell City, as the Cubs outscored the Cardinals 49-27, cruising to the win 87-55.
Woodland was led by Caleb Lee, who scored 18 points, including three 3-
pointers. Kyle Reynolds added 15 points in the loss.
Leading the way for Bell City was Phillip Gross who finished with 22 points. Nick Niemczyk, Marty Dames and Ethan Watkins each finished in double-
digits, as Niemczyk finished with 15 points, Dames with 14 and Watkins with 11.
Next up for the Cubs is the winner of the Bloomfield vs Dexter contest, scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m.