Dragons end 4-game skid with 79-68 victory over Raiders
ADRIAN -- Even with a 4-game losing streak and a team that nearly hit rock bottom, the Adrian Dragons weren't about to pack it in this season.
"We were low; we were down," Adrian head coach Chris Rozell said. "I would say the last game, we played Mountain Lake and got a little better. But I think we hit rock bottom about a week ago, and I was glad to see the kids didn't give up and found some things that are going to work for us."
The Dragons (3-4, 5-6) were able to pick themselves up and end their losing streak in a 79-68 boys' Red Rock Conference victory over Fulda Friday night.
"We play hard every night," Fulda head coach Brad Holinka said. "That's the way these guys have played all year long. We played hard again tonight, but that's just the way the game ended up tonight."
With a major size advantage, the Dragons were able to work the ball inside against the smaller Raiders (3-3, 4-5).
Brett Oertli scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Adrian, while Danny Parsley had a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds.
"We wanted to get the ball inside, and I thought our guys did a good job," Rozell said. "Our post players did a good job finishing tonight. We kind of went away from that and went on a little slide, but it was good to see that we got it down there and we attacked out of it. Hopefully we can continue to do that."
However, the Dragons were just as effective from the outside, as Brian Tjepkes hit five 3-pointers on the night in a 17 point, seven rebound and seven assist effort.
For the Raiders, David Crowley wreaked havoc for the Adrian defense. The senior guard ended with 22 points to lead Fulda.
"We played well, but we played down to their level," Crowley said. "We could have played better. They played a box-and-one on us that was tough, and we didn't know how to handle it."
The Dragons started the second half in a box-and-one, with the lone man-to-man defender on Crowley.
"Crowley is quick, and we just couldn't keep him out of the middle of the lane," Rozell said. "So we assigned one guy on him, and that slowed him down a little bit. He's a good player, but I thought that was effective."
After a tied score at half, the Dragons outscored the Raiders 42-31 in the second half to claim the 11-point victory.
"It was tied at half, and I thought our guys executed better in the second half," Rozell said. "We got a lead and extended it. We took care of the ball and got some stops defensively, and I was pretty happy with how the second half turned out."
With the score tied at 37-all out of the break, Adrian used a trey from Adam Diekmann (nine points) to take a 46-41 lead in the first three minutes of the second half.
Devin Kuehne (14 points) hit a trey to bring the Raiders back within two points, but a basket from Parsley and a free throw from Jesse Brake pushed the lead back to five points.
Consecutive baskets from Tom Kuhl (20 points) and Kuehne tied the game at 51-all.
As the score continued to stay around the two-point mark, Parsley converted on a 3-point play and Jordon Kontz hit an acrobatic layup to push the lead to seven points.
A basket from Alex Hein cut the lead to five, but the Raiders would not get any closer as the Dragons hit 12 of their last 14 free throws to seal a 79-68 victory.
"We had the right guys in there shooting free throws at the end. They stepped up and made some free throws," Rozell said. "We needed the win, we're on a 4-game slide so it's nice to come home and get a win."
Neither team could separate itself from the other in the first half, and with 10 minutes left, the score was knotted at 19-all.
With a layup from Aaron Leinen and a trey from Kuehne, Fulda had a 32-25 lead late in the first half.
"We wanted to run on them," Crowley said. "We knew they were much bigger than us, so we wanted to be able to get up-tempo and push them."
However, Tjepkes hit consecutive treys to pull Adrian back within a point.
Two more baskets from Adrian gave the Dragons a 35-32 lead on a 10-0 run, but Fulda was able to tie the score at 37-all before half.
Adrian hosts Round Lake-Brewster on Thursday, while Fulda visit Ellsworth the same evening.
"We know that we'll come back," Crowley said. "It's one game at a time, and we'll keep plugging at it."
Fulda 37 31 -- 68
Adrian 37 42 -- 79
Fulda (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Kuehne 4-1-0-14 Hein 0-1-0-2, Crowley 4-4-2-22, Olsem 0-2-0-4, Kuhl 2-6-2-20, Leinen 0-2-2-6. Totals 10-16-6-68.
Adrian (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Diekmann 2-1-1-9, Kontz 0-1-0-2,Tjepkes 5-0-2-17, Parsley 0-7-9-23, Weidert 0-1-1-3, Brake 0-0-5-5, Oertli 0-8-1-17, Reyne 0-1-1-3. Totals 7-19-20-79.