Rock Creek out in 3A quarters

By Grant Guggisberg

HUTCHINSON — Trailing by four with a minute left in Wednesday’s Class 3A state quarterfinal at the Hutchinson Sports Arena, Rock Creek put the ball in the hands of its all-time leading scorer, who made a move to get past his defender for what would likely end in a layup, a foul or both.

Instead, Mustangs’ senior Ryan Schneider slipped as he started to move toward the basket and was called for a travel.

It was that kind of night for Schneider, who capped his career at Rock Creek with a six-point performance against a Riverton defense that did everything it could to slow him down in its 58-50 win

Normally a locked-in 3-point shooter, Schneider finished 0 of 6 from long range and just 3 of 16 overall.

“They weren’t going to let Ryan get open,” Rock Creek Jim Johnston said. “I think part of it was their defense and a little bit of it was a change in scenery and background. We didn’t shoot the ball great, especially in the second half, but we also missed some gimmes.”

Rock Creek (20-4) went back and forth with Riverton all night long, leading by one at halftime and by two, at 39-37, heading into the fourth quarter.

But Riverton quickly stole away the momentum in the final period, capitalizing on back-to-back turnovers by the Mustangs to lead 47-44 midway through the quarter and force a Rock Creek timeout.

Riverton (21-2) would go on to lead 51-46 after a turnover and pair of free throws by Gavin Forbes, but Rock Creek responded.

The Mustangs got a wide-open layup for Carson Becker on a broken play and a quick transition layup for Jackson Goodmiller to make it 53-50 with 2:05 to play.

The Rams started to stall and Rock Creek, with just four team fouls, went for steals.

Once they reached the bonus, Riverton’s Logan Edwards made 1 of 2 free throws on the next trip down to make it 54-50, before Schneider’s travel to give the ball back to the Rams.

Rock Creek fouled Landon North, who made 1 of 2 free throws, but the Mustangs again came up empty on offense, with Becker’s long jumper falling short and Riverton snatching up the rebound.

Trailing 57-50 after two more free throws by North, Rock Creek’s Nate Berard was whistled for a charge on a baseline layup attempt that sealed the loss for the Mustangs. North, who finished with a game-high 18 points, added another free throw on the ensuing foul to make up the final margin.

“We’re young, and it’s a big stage and I think a couple of them were a little nervous going out there,” Johnston said. “It’s disappointing, and some of the things we did, we beat ourselves, but that’s part of growing up and learning.”

While Rock Creek finished 1 of 10 from behind the arc, the Mustangs sophomore post duo of Becker and Jared Garcia each scored 15 points, with Becker grabbing 11 rebounds for a double-double. Johnston said he wished the team would have played through its posts more.

“They’re two big boys and they’re very fundamentally sound,” he said. “We had to go to them when we weren’t shooting well outside — I wish we’d have kept going to them. They did a great job for being sophomores, and for them the best is yet to be.”

While the score stayed close most of the way, Rock Creek had a couple different chances to pull away, but didn’t capitalize. The Mustangs led 29-22 near the end of the second quarter, but allowed a 6-0 run to make it a one-point game at halftime.

Rock Creek led by five points in the third quarter, but again let the Rams pull within one point.

“We had missed opportunities,” Johnston said. “We turned over the ball, had some unforced turnovers and missed free throws, and it was tough. We had our opportunities to go and take control of the game two or three times, with the ball, and didn’t handle it.”

Looking ahead to next season, the Mustangs will be loaded once again, with just two seniors on the roster, Travis Blenn and Schneider.

“Ryan has been amazing for us all four years,” Johnston said. “He’s raised his level of play each year, and he’s done it against other teams’ best defenders for much of his career. He’s our all-time leading scorer and has our most career 3-pointers as well.

“Travis has been a great leader for us and we’ll miss his presence in this locker room.” senior Ryan Schneider slipped as he started to move toward the basket and was called for a travel.

It was that kind of night for Schneider, who capped his career at Rock Creek with a six-point performance against a Riverton defense that did everything it could to slow him down in its 58-50 win

Normally a locked-in 3-point shooter, Schneider finished 0 of 6 from long range and just 3 of 16 overall.









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