Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ruskin Boys Beat Rockhurst 63-61 In 2 OT Nail Biter

Tick, tick, tick. When's the bomb going to go off?

Happy Eagles celebrate District 13 Championship win.

This was really a terrific game to watch--close throughout with good basketball played by both sides. Rockhurst with their designed plays and strong outside shooting, Ruskin with its speed and quickness of hands and feet and ability to run the break and penetrate. However, I will remember this game for the way that each team handled stalling, or holding the ball.

There is no shot clock in Missouri HS Boys Basketball, and that leads to some different strategies when the game is close. At the end of regulation, Ruskin held the ball for close to 20 seconds. Rockhurst declined to defend closely, thus keeping the five second rule out of play. It was the first time we saw the full stall, but it would not be the last.

Rockhurst tried it later in OT when they had the ball and the lead. Ruskin came out and played defense. Rockhurst turned the ball over. It seemed the right strategy to me at this level of basketball. It's hard for young players not to get nervous when holding the ball for any period. Ruskin stalled later on and Rockhurst still declined to play close defense.

It came down to some clutch shooting in both the field and foul line for Ruskin as they were able to regain the lead in the second OT period after going down to Rockhurst a point or two at the beginning. A really nice win that is a tribute both to Ruskin's physical ability and their mental toughness and coachability too.

Next game on the road to State is Wednesday, March 2 at 6:30 pm at the Independence Event Center against Lee's Summit North.

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