RILEY COUNTY — DJ Redmon punished the undersized Riley County Falcons to the tune of 15 points in a 60-49 Silver Lake win Friday night.
Redmon, who stood as a tall as a redwood against the shorter Falcons players, spent most of the night grabbing rebounds above the heads of the Falcons’ post players.
“(Redmon) shoots a lot of shots from four or five feet and it’s hard for us to hang with him,” Riley County head coach Steve Fritz said.
Fritz encouraged his team to drop back into a 2-3 zone against the taller team. It’s a defensive concept that the Falcons have used throughout the season.
“The zone was pretty good,” Fritz said. “We slowed them up a little bit. Playing inside is an issue for us. So we want them to be as perimeter (oriented) as possible. We did that. They made a few shots but they didn’t make a ton from outside.”
The zone allowed the Falcons to get within eight points by the end of the third quarter. But Redmon and his running mate Trent Smith proved to be too much. Smith led Silver Lake with 19 points with nine of those points coming on 3-pointers.
While Riley County struggled to find an answer all night for the length of Silver Lake, Falcons guard Jackson Wagner was an equally adept shooter as Smith on the night. Wagner made three triples in the fourth quarter and led Riley County in scoring with 16 points.
“We’ve been waiting about two or three games for him to start making some shots from the outside,” Fritz said. “He really played well. He handled the ball well. The bonus was making the shots outside.”
Frtiz encouraged his team to foul as the game neared to an end. It was a hopeful strategy to extend the game and rely on the hot shooting of Wagner. Riley County guard Trace Nelson, who picked up a technical foul in the second quarter, racked up four more fouls in the fourth quarter alone.
The plethora of fouls allowed both teams to combine for 39 points, nearly an entire half’s worth of action.
Despite the loss, Fritz said his team responded well to a tough opponent.
“I thought we played pretty hard,” Fritz said. “There were a lot of things that we did well within that game that we haven’t done very well here of late. That was the best game we’ve played in a while, probably since break. So there’s a lot in there for us to build on and that’s the main thing I wanted to stress after the game was over.”
Falcons post player Brice Brummett added another strong night for Riley County down low. His constant energy and toughness has been a bright spot for Fritz’s squad.
“He’s fighting and grinding for everything he can get,” Fritz said. “He’s been a good stability force for us inside all year long. He’s made a lot of strides in that area. And he just works hard.”
Brummett finished with 14 points.