RHS Girls and Boys in Action
Rector's senior boys split a couple of conference basketball games this past week -- the win was the Cougars' first of the young season.
Following the triumph on the road Tuesday of last week at Crowley's Ridge Academy, the Cougars were home Friday against a Cross County team that is clearly improved from recent years.
The teams battled on even terms in the first quarter, with neither holding more than a two-point lead. They were tied 13-13 at the end of the frame.
The Thunderbirds' Josh Richardson began to take control inside in the second period as he notched 11 points to lead the visitors to a 28-21 advantage at intermission. Richardson scored 17 of his game-high 29 points in the first half.
The third quarter started out badly for the Cougars as Richardson continued his scoring spree in helping his team to a 36-24 lead midway through the frame.
But the Cougars caught fire as Lawson Ford hit a pair of free throws, Huston Highfill scored inside and Ford then drained a trey to make it 36-31 with 1:40 showing in the third.
Cross County then hit a three-pointer of their own, but Kirk Beshears countered for the Cougars to make it 39-34 heading into the final eight minutes.
Only a three-pointer by Ford stemmed the tide in the early part of the fourth quarter as the T-Birds moved to what seemed to be a commanding 48-37 lead with 3:53 showing.
But the Cougars weren't through, as Ford and Garrett Buck each hit a pair of free throws and Beshears nailed another trey to close the gap to 48-44 with 2:40 left.
But those would be the final points of the game for the hosts as the T-Birds scored on a breakaway steal and a free throw to set the final margin at 51-44.
Ford was the dominant scorer for the Cougars with 25 points, including five three-pointers. Beshears was next with 6, including a pair of treys. Also scoring were Buck 4, Chase Jackson 3, Danny Hager 2, Sam Simmons 2 and Highfill 2.
Rector made all eight of its free throws. Cross County went 13-24 at the line.
"We got into some foul trouble in the first half that hurt us," coach Matt Mills said after the game. "We got down 12, but battled back and gave ourselves a chance."
The Cougars rolled over CRA in the earlier game, putting together their most complete effort of the season.
Rector blitzed to a 23-3 margin after one quarter. They then posted quarter leads of 36-15 and 56-31 on the way to a 68-49 win.
The Cougars had 11 players in the scoring column, led by Ford and Highfill with 12 each. Also scoring were Buck 9, Easton Tracy 8, Jackson 7, Hager 6, Beshears 5, Hunter McNeely 3, Case Watson 2, Dalton Murray 2 and Hunter Householder 2.
Dalton Smith had 14 for CRA.
Rector hit seven three-pointers in the game and went 7-14 at the line. CRA was 6-13 at the charity stripe.
"We played extremely well at CRA," Mills said. "We shot the ball very well. We finally put all the pieces together and I thought were getting over the hump, but I guess not yet."
Mills said the lack of balanced scoring from his seniors has been a downfall so far this year. He cited the Cross County game in which Ford hit for 25, but his other seniors failed to produce significantly in the scoring column.
"We've got to get more production from our seniors," the coach said. "They need to combine for around 40 points a game and then we need to have our underclassmen learn to play key roles."
Juniors Win Two
Max Ford's athletic lean-in shot in the lane with only 8.4 seconds remaining propelled the Junior Cougars to a dramatic 38-37 win over Cross County.
The late shot overcame problems down the stretch for the Junior Cougars as they suffered numerous turnovers while trying to maintain a 36-31 lead in the final three minutes of the game.
In fact, the winner by Ford was the only shot the Cougars managed to get off in the final stretch as they kept the Junior Thunderbirds in the game with four straight turnovers.
Cross County took a one-point lead with 21.1 seconds left, setting up the heroics at the end.
"Max is going to be a really good basketball player," Mills said of the eighth grader. "I look forward to seeing him continue to develop. He does so many things well on the court."
"This is the best game our junior high team has played this year," the coach said. "The second half they played the way I've been expecting them to play all year. They were energetic and played with a very fast pace."
Ford and Trey Rodden led Rector with 11 points each. Also scoring were Evan Dooley 5, Colton Lindsey 3, Ty Jones 3, Shannon Patterson 2, Parker Bucy 2 and Kale Hardin 1. Jackson Henderson had 19 for Cross County.
Rector was 4-6 at the free throw line, while the visitors were 5-14.
Cross County was ahead 10-3 after one period and 18-11 at the half before Rector bounced back to take a 27-25 lead heading into the final frame.
The Junior Cougars beat CRA, 43-35, as Rodden led the way with a big 24-point performance.
Also scoring were Bucy 5, Hardin 3, Drake Lindsey 3, Mike Hunt 3, Ford 2 and Patterson 1. Brett Austin had 17 points for CRA.
Quarter leads for Rector were 13-5, 27-17 and 35-29.
Both Rector teams were scheduled to play at home Tuesday night against East Poinsett County and will travel Friday to Marmaduke.
The East Poinsett County Lady Warriors came on strong Monday night, outscoring the Rector Cougars early in the game and securing a 51-36 win at the RHS gym.
Quarter leads for the Warriors were 18-5, 33-12 and 40-22. Leading scorer for EPC was six-footer Kryston Vornes with 17 points.
Leading scoring for the Cougars was Tori Hill, posting 18 points. Other scorers for the Cougars were Colby Lynch 6, Matison Dean 3, Sophie Adams 3, Maddie Hobbs 3 and Bailey Hoots 3.
"We didn't come out ready to play," coach Matt Dean said. "We played better in the second half, but we were already in too big of a hole to get out."
The ladies hosted Cross County Thursday, Dec. 10. The game started off slow, but the girls picked up their momentum in the second half, handing the T-Birds a loss, 45-33.
Leading quarters for the Cougars were 7-5, 14-11 and 31-15. Leading Cougar scoring was Hill with 17 points. Other scorers were Lynch 10, Dean 9, Dominique Coln 7 and Adams 2.
"We played really well in this game, especially in the second half," Dean said. "We came out with a good conference win." The senior ladies stand at 5-6 for the season and 2-3 in conference play.
The Junior Cougars suffered a close loss to EPC Monday night, 37-35.
The Warriors took the first quarter 8-6, but the Cougars led after two, 17-15. In the third EPC narrowly took back the lead, 28-26.
The standout player for EPC was Bre Ward, who posted 25 of the team's 37 points. Leading scoring for the Cougars was Mylessa Gant with 18. Other scorers for Rector were Gabby Clark 12, Colby Robinson 3 and Shianne Rients 2.
"This was the best game we've played all year," Dean said. "We had a good opportunity to win; it just didn't go our way."
The junior ladies pummeled Cross County, 39-13, by putting the heat on early and never losing momentum.
Leading quarters for the Cougars were 11-5, 18-11 and 24-13. Leading scoring for Rector was Clark, posting 16. Other scoring for the Cougars included Robinson 7, Gant 6, Michaela Rients 4, Ryleigh Laden 4 and Shianne Rients 2.
"We came out with a good conference win in both games and the girls played really well," Dean said. The junior ladies stand at 3-6 overall and 1-4 in conference play.
Both Rector teams will travel to Marmaduke Thursday night.