RILEY — With 1:40 left in the third quarter Riley County sophomore Joel Marienau knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key and those left in the Falcons’ gym were as loud as they had been the entire contest against the rival Mustangs.
Even the Riley County bench stood up and cheered. But, there was one problem. After the trey the Falcons still trailed Rock Creek by 38 points.
The Mustangs dominated Riley County on the road from the start with a 67-33 victory Tuesday night.
Rock Creek led after the first quarter 21-4 and extended its lead even more going into halftime with a 41-10 advantage.
The Mustangs featured 12 players with points recorded. Senior Jacob Miller — a massive presence at 6-foot-5 — led Rock Creek with a game-high 14 points and teammate Ryan Schneider totaled 12. Shane Adams — another big man at 6-foot-4 — also reached double-digits for the Mustangs with 11 points.
“We played well tonight,” Rock Creek head coach Jim Johnston said. “On offense we really moved the ball and were finding the open person. We had a lot of scoring from different people, but I think most impressively was defensively. We were doing a lot of things, like getting in the passing lanes and disrupting (Riley County’s) offense a little bit.”
The Mustangs got out of the gate in a hurry with a 3-pointer from the top of the key from Schneider to give Rock Creek its first points and Adams quickly added a bucket in the low post moments later to add to the lead. Senior Jimmie Goodmiller posted an additional Mustangs trey from the left of the key and Rock Creek immediately took control of the contest with a 8-0 lead.
The Falcons’ JonRoss Maddox answered with a score inside the paint, but the Mustangs answered and again struck from beyond the perimeter with another 3-pointer from Schneider.
Riley County senior Bryce Chavis — who ultimately led the Falcons with 10 points — kissed the ball off the glass after a cut inside with 3:30 left to go in the opening quarter to cut the deficit to 11-4, but the fast-paced, aggressive offense of the Mustangs didn’t let up.
Buckets by Miller and teammate Josh Roberts — another senior — were too much for Riley County to endure, and Rock Creek closed the quarter with a 21-4 lead.
Although the Falcons outscored the Mustangs 12-10 in the fourth, the Rock Creek starters had been long retired before that.
“We want to push the ball up the court,” Johnston said about the fast-paced and aggressive nature of his offense. “We want to try to flow from our fast-break right into our offense, and try and find the best shot for us as quickly as we can everytime. But, if it’s not there, we don’t want to force it and our kids are really doing a good job of recognizing that this year.”
Johnston praised the rebounding and unselfish play of Miller, who was big in the first half.
“He’s a rebounding machine and does such a great job underneath when he gets the ball,” he said. “He’s not selfish — he’ll get his shots — and he finds people when they are open.
“He’s a stud. He’s an All-League player and that’s why. He does so many things well. It’s not flashy, but its a workman-type effort, and he goes out there and makes things happen.”