PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Knights get tripped up by HBC, 69-49
TYLER — Utilizing its distinct advantage in size and experience at the varsity level, the Hills-Beaver Creek boys basketball team provided a challenge that Russell-Tyler-Ruthton could not meet in Monday’s season opener as the Patriots came out on top in a 69-49 final.
RTR coach Ted Kern acknowledged that it will take some time for his young team to adjust to the faster pace of play at the varsity level.
“(It was the) first time on a varsity court for just about all of them,” said Kern. “It’s going to take some time to adjust to that speed and today was definitely an adjustment. Hopefully every game gets a little bit better as far as that goes.”
Knights leading scorers Payton Hess, Aiden Wichmann and Darrick Baartman provided an early lift offensively for the Knights in guiding the team to an 8-7 advantage in the opening minutes of play. RTR went on to take its largest lead of the game at 22-16 at the midway point of the half, but the Patriots came storming back and dictated the pace of play down the stretch.
Led by Jax Wysong’s 34 point-night that was highlighted by three-consecutive three-point plays late in the first half, HBC climbed back to take the lead at 24-22 and proceeded to go on a 9-5 run to take a 33-27 lead into halftime.
Out of the break, Hess cut the deficit to four points at 33-29, but that would be the closest that the Knights would come to tying the Patriots for the rest of the contest. HBC’s height advantage began to take its toll as the game progressed, which culminated in an 11-4 run that extended its lead to double-digits at 44-33.
Kern said HBC’s size advantage was a major factor in their ability to control the paint and forced the Knights to settle for contested outside shots.
“It was definitely a big factor,” said Kern. “That definitely made a big difference in the paint for us. It was kind of a struggle and we ended up settling a little bit because of that.”
The Patriots went on to create additional separation on the scoreboard with a late 14-6 run that made it 58-39 before cruising to a 69-49 victory.
In spite of the end result, Kern was pleased with the team’s energy level throughout the contest and hopes it’s something they can build on in upcoming games.
“I loved our energy. I thought we played hard,” said Kern. “They bought into the shifts and went after it when they were in there and that’s what we need to do. For all of our flaws, we’re going to have to play hard to overcome some of those.”
The Knights will be back on their home court today when they host Canby with tipoff slated for 7 p.m.
SCORING: RTR (Wichmann 13, Hess 9, Baartman 8).
REBOUNDS: RTR (Christensen 9).
ASSISTS: RTR (Hess 5).
STEALS: RTR: (Hess 3).
BLOCKS: RTR (Hess 2).