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Risco advances to finals with 100-74 win over Clarkton

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Risco's Luke Bixler goes up for a shot as Clarkton's Logan Blackburn attempts to take a charge in a Class 1, District 1 Tournament game on Tuesday at Risco. David Jenkins, Staff
RISCO -- The Risco Tigers are a team that can score in bunches and you never know where it's going to come from.

Utilizing plenty of depth and plenty of scoring options, the top-seeded Tigers knocked off fourth seed and Tri-County Conference rival Clarkton, 100-74, on Tuesday at Risco High School in the Class 1, District 1 Tournament.

Risco, the two-time defending district champions, advance to the district final where they will play third-seeded Gideon, 64-63 winners over No. 2 North Pemiscot, tomorrow at 7 p.m.

The Tigers led just 38-34 at the half, but blew the game wide open by out-scoring Clarkton 62-40 in the second half.

Doing most of the damage was the trio of Luke Bixler, Austin White and Chris Pavy, who combined for 67 points.

The three single-handedly dominated the game, but the loudest roar of the night came when junior Matt Cummins hit a short jumper to reach the century mark.

"We feel like we have five or six guys that on any given night can give us 20 or more," Risco coach Brandon Blankenship said. "Pretty much we've had balanced scoring throughout the year. We feel like we're dangerous when we get multiple guys going and clicking and we like to push it and we like to run. Yeah, 100 points is nice."

The Tigers, whose tallest player that sees action stands just 5-foot-11, had trouble with Clarkton's Mikey Jones, who is a 5-11 tank on the inside for the Reindeer.

The senior was unstoppable, registering 34 points and a mind-blowing 26 rebounds.

"He's a monster," Blankenship said of Jones. "He jumps well. He's strong. We just had a tough time with him. We don't have a lot of size, so we're constantly talking to our guys about blocking out. And there were times I thought we had him blocked out, but he just kind of went around us or went through us and got it. He's tough."

Despite Jones' effort, the Reindeer could not keep up with the quicker Risco squad, which forced 28 turnovers.

Risco converted many of the turnovers into points and when they didn't, the Tigers worked it around to one of its many players that can put the ball in the basket.

"It's tough to guard all of them," Clarkton coach Steven White said. "They're a very good basketball team. We knew that coming into the game so that's why we showed them something different. We figured they would prepare for us in man, so we drew up a 3-2 zone to stop dribble penetration. It's not just one guy you can focus in on, they have five or six guys that can score."

Besides Bixler, Pavy and White, Risco saw Jeremy Fowler, Hunter Knight and Brandon Bixler each score eight points.

The first quarter was back and forth as there were nine lead changes before Risco settled for a 19-15 lead after one.

The Tigers began to pull away in the second quarter, leading by as much as 34-22, but Clarkton rallied back spearheaded by a four-point play by senior guard Logan Blackburn.

Sophomore guard Dylan White then scored back-to-back layups after steals to quickly cut the lead to 34-30.

The Reindeer (12-12) trimmed the lead to 36-34 on two Dennis Amos free throws with 13 seconds left, but Risco's Brandon Bixler scored on a layup with seven seconds left in the half give the Tigers some breathing room.

Risco started the second half on a 17-4 run to blow the game open. Clarkton never recovered despite Jones' 22 points and 15 rebounds in the second half.

With Tuesday's win, Risco (23-3) tied a school record for wins in a season, matching the 1958-59 team that went 23-5.

"At this point you're just looking to advance and get ready for the next opponent," Blankenship said.


CLARKTON (74) -- Mikey Jones 34, Logan Blackburn 17, Dylan White 8, Jeremy Granstaff 5, Dennis Amos 4, Jerry Kinnon 2, Reid Morgan 2, Lathan Blackburn 2. FG 28, FT 12-23, F 27. (3-pointers: Lo. Blackburn 1, Granstaff 1. Fouled out: White, Kinnon, Jones).

RISCO (100) -- Luke Bixler 26, Austin White 24, Chris Pavy 17, Jeremy Fowler 8, Hunter Knight 8, Brandon Bixler 8, Jordan Pavy 5, Matt Cummins 4. FG 30, FT 25-39, F 23. (3-pointers: White 3, J. Pavy 1, L. Bixler 1. Fouled out: none).

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