RANDOLPH — Fans stuck their hand out and patted head coach Nick Evans after Blue Valley’s 71-52 victory over Doniphan West.
Evans tried, but couldn’t explain why his team scored a season-high in points against the Mustangs in the team’s first Twin Valley League win.
“We’ve never scored 71 points before,” Evans said. “We average about 42 points a game and that’s about as flawless as I’ve ever seen them play.”
Thanks to the hot shooting of senior guard Zach Rootring, the Rams charged out to a 19-point lead at halftime. Rootring, who scored 23 points, nearly outscored Doniphan West by himself at the break.
“He can light it up in a hurry,” Evans said. “He has always been able to shoot like that out there. When he works at it and elevates and finishes at it, it’s a high percentage.”
Rootring had 18 at halftime and Doniphan West had 22. But it wasn’t just Rootring that propelled Blue Valley to its most dominant victory of the season thus far - Kyle Apley added 20 points while working hard in the post.
“There at the beginning (Kyle) put us on his back and he was determined that we’re not going to lose,” Evans said. “I like guys that are going to put in on their back. There in the first few quarters he put us on his back and was scoring in traffic.”
Doniphan West (4-10, 3-5 Twin Valley) ticked up its pressure in the second half in an attempt to close the gap. But Blue Valley (3-13, 1-8) kept their calm and dissected the press. Late in the game, Marcus Willis corralled a rebound and threw a perfect one-handed baseball toss to a streaking Chase Carey for a wide-open layup. Due to the large lead, Evans was able to sub in his entire bench, including Bill Sumerour, who was chosen as the Winter Royalty King earlier in the night.
Blue Valley blew the game wide open in the second quarter. Without the services of their rim protector, Apley, Evans pushed the team back in to 2-3 zone with Willis serving as the Rams’ tallest player.
“In that second quarter we finally figured out to play straight up and move our feet,” Evans said. “They are really good at getting you up with the shot fake and then they go to the foul line.”
The small-ball lineup caused headaches for Doniphan West’s zone. Blue Valley’s players spread the ball out and shot over the top of the Mustangs. Rootring and Chase Carey combined for four 3-pointers during the decisive 22-9 run.
Jeffery Watts and Cooper Leach scored 32 of the Mustangs’ 52 points.
Blue Valley doesn’t have a game Tuesday night before traveling to Onaga on Friday.