FLUSH — The Rock Creek Mustangs ran away from the Riley County Falcons, 67-31, in a rivalry game that was blown open in the first half.
A raucous home crowd, led by a boisterous student section, helped Rock Creek open up to a 40-12 halftime lead, built by outscoring Riley County 22-3 in the second quarter. A running clock was used for the entire fourth quarter.
“They cover a lot more ground, in that respect, than a lot of teams do,” first-year Riley County boys’ head coach Steve Fritz said.
Fritz said the team got good looks in that decisive second quarter, but the shots were not falling.
Due to foul trouble, Riley County (2-4) was forced to look deep into its bench. The Falcons used nine guys and were forced out of their normal rotations.
“We hurt them inside,” Rock Creek boys head coach Mike Johnston said. “Our size is a big factor for us.”
Rock Creek (4-2) swarmed the undermanned Falcons with size and outscored Riley County’s posts 30-11, with all 12 of Riley County’s points coming from Brice Brummett, who led the Falcons in scoring.
“Brice was real aggressive,” Fritz said. “And the opportunities we had to get it inside — he did a real nice job.”
Sophomore center Carson Becker finished with 10 points for Rock Creek, despite playing in foul trouble for most of the game. In fact, Becker picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter and looked over at the bench expecting to come out of the game. Johnston told his young post to learn to play with fouls.
“He needs to learn to play with fouls,” Johnston said. “I thought it was the time to do it.”
Johnston eventually pulled Becker out the game and replaced him with Trystan Buss, who scored seven points for the Mustangs.
Because of the large deficit, both coaches emptied their benches halfway through the fourth quarter. Johnston said the time would be beneficial for his team as he continues to look for depth.
In that fourth quarter, senior Tyler Jordan showed off his shooting ability. He hit a long-range two and then answered that with a 3-pointer, his second of the game.
“Tyler’s a great outside shooter,” Fritz said. “It’s just about getting him in the right area of the court — work the ball around — and give him opportunities here and there.”
Ryan Schneider, who hit a big 3 last Friday against Wamego, hit two more 3s tonight and finished with 10 points. Jackson Goodmiller led the way for Rock Creek with 11 points.
Despite the 36 point win over a rival, Johnston was not satisfied.
“Defensively we have a lot of things to work on,” Johnston said. “Blocking out and finishing possessions.”
Rock Creek travels to Silver Lake next and Riley County heads to Rossville.