A misstep in the first quarter proved too costly for the Rock Creek boys’ basketball team in the Class 3A state semifinal game against No. 1-seeded Scott City.
Scott City, who claimed the 3A title last season, got its ticket punched for another state championship game after a 64-49 defeat of the Mustangs Friday night in Hutchinson.
The Beavers (24-1) led by nine points after the first quarter and 12 points at the halftime break. Although Rock Creek (20-5) began the second half strong and outscored Scott City in the third quarter, a state title game appearance just wasn’t meant to be for the Mustangs.
The Beavers outscored Rock Creek 17-12 in the fourth quarter to cap off their 15-point victory.
“We started off pretty sloppy in the first half,” Mustangs head coach Jim Johnston said in a phone interview Friday night. “I think we had five turnovers in the first quarter. We held (Scott City) for a little bit, but they got a 10-point lead and we never recovered from that.
“They have a lot of weapons and we couldn’t cover them all, and they took us out of what we wanted to do.”
Drew Kite led Scott City with a game-high 18 points and also pulled down 11 rebounds.. Teammates Brett O’Neil and Joey Meyer were also in double figures with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Senior K.J. Dobbins led the way for Rock Creek with 16 points while junior Jacob Miller had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Mustangs. After that though, Rock Creek was taken out of its tradition of balanced scoring. The next highest point total for the Mustangs was four points by three different players.
“Scott City is a very good team and they are very well coached,” Johnston said. “They have a good post and good guards that can drive and penetrate. They are 24-1 for a reason.
“But our kids never gave up and I’m proud of them for that. We fought and we battled, but (Scott City) kept churning and that’s what good teams do. They’re a very, very good team, and we’re a good team, too. I’m just proud of our kids for not giving up.”