After going almost a month without playing at home, Riley County returned to its home gym and used a first half push to beat Mid-East League rival Rock Creek, 52-34.
The Falcons (5-1, 2-0) had some trouble getting into their offense at times versus the winless Mustangs (0-6, 0-3) but found sanctuary at the free-throw line, where Riley County went 20-27 from the stripe.
“Offensively we we’re stagnant at times and not in good rhythm at times,” Falcons head coach Harold Oliver said. “But first game back, overall, we were pleased with the win.”
The Falcons reached the double-bonus early in both halves as the Mustangs seemingly could not get themselves in position to guard a Riley County offense that likes to attack.
“When we get fatigued, I guess we gave ourselves an out or OK to go 80 percent instead of pushing through that wall and finding a different level,” Rock Creek head coach Adam Plummer said.
“Some of the calls could have gone either way or could have been non-calls. Some nights they are, some nights they aren’t, but we’ve got to be in better position.”
Rock Creek’s struggle lay with a lack of consistency in the fundamentals and a young roster — the Mustangs have no seniors — struggling to click.
The combination of the two left the Plummer exasperated and searching for answers.
“I’ve tried to be patient because we are a young group, but patience is out the window at this point,” he said. “I mean, we’re young, but the mistakes we’re making shouldn’t be mistakes you make at this level regardless if you’re playing with freshmen or sophomores.”
In the first quarter, the Falcons let their defense lead, holding Rock Creek to only five points while junior Emily Earhart got the scoring going with six of the 11 first quarter points.
Earhart was one of two Falcons to score in double digits, putting up 15 points.
“Emily had a really nice game,” Oliver said. “She shot the ball well, she was good from the free-throw line, attacked the basket and got fouled.”
While Earhart opened the door, Crubel burst through it in the second quarter leading a 17-point second period with seven of her own to extend Riley County’s halftime lead to 28-11.
Crubel led all players in scoring with 16, which is one in a line of strong performances from the senior this season.
“She’s so good both inside and out,” Oliver said. “She draws a lot of attention defensively. Everyone knows. Everyone is game-planning to stop her. We felt like tonight she was really patient offensively where she didn’t try to force things to happen that weren’t there, and then she seized the opportunities that did present themselves.”
Earhart lit up the scoreboard again in the third scoring seven points, six from the free throw line.
Sophomore Lori Huston was the only player in double-digits for the Mustangs, as she scored 10 and fouled out in fourth quarter.
Both squads will be back in action Friday, as Riley County faces Rossville, while Rock Creek returns home to face Silver Lake.