PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: DeCock leads Falcons past Dragons
WORTHINGTON - After receiving a mild concussion at Slayton Feb. 25 in Red Rock Central's 67-63 regular season-ending victory over Murray County Central, Falcons' senior all-around athlete Jeff DeCock was considered questionable for the quarterfinal round of the Section 3A South boys' basketball tournament.
But, after not practicing all week, DeCock received doctor's clearance on Thursday and responded in the fourth game of "Super Saturday" with a fabulous all-around performance, which included an RRC school record 42 points, leading the third-seeded Falcons to a high-scoring 86-69 victory over the upset-minded Adrian Dragons.
The game was much closer than the final score indicates, as the Dragons - who had not won a game until the calendar turned to February - repeatedly rallied throughout the contest, trailing by just four points (73-69) with 4:20 left on the clock after Nick Reyne netted a pair of free throws, capping a 9-2 Adrian run.
But, 22 seconds later, DeCock surged through the lane and scored on a twisting drive and was fouled. His three-point play gave the Falcons a 76-69 edge and RRC closed out the game by effectively working the clock, sinking free throws and defending Adrian's vaunted perimeter shooting.
"We closed it out well," summed up RRC head coach Brian Walker. "We scored the game's last 13 points and were able to limit Adrian's effectiveness from behind the arc in the second half after giving up seven 3's in a very high-scoring first half."
Four players drained 3's for the Dragons in the first half, including a trio by 5-6 sophomore guard Collin Kemper.
But, DeCock - who did not score his first field goal until the 10:43 mark of the first half - continually offset the scoring of the Dragons as he finished the first half with 24 points, including a two-handed slam dunk following a steal along the left sideline which gave the Falcons a 25-22 lead with 8:29 showing on the first-half clock.
"Jeff is quite a player and he had a remarkable all-around game," praised Walker. "He can do so many things and finishes so well."
Indeed, DeCock drew numerous fouls with his slashing and penetrating, ending the game a perfect 16-of-16 at the free throw line - 8-of-8 in each half - and missed only four field goals the entire day, finishing 13-of-17 (76 percent).
Prior to DeCock's steal and slam, the game had numerous lead changes.
A 3-pointer by Reyne (32 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals) had given Adrian an early 9-6 lead at the 15:02 mark and eight early points (along with a block and an assist) by RRC's Henry Rogotzke had put the Falcons up 14-11 with 12:28 remaining.
RRC later held a pair of five-point leads (16-11 and 21-16) following baskets each time by Sam Halter.
The Dragons responded with a 3-pointer by Brady Lonneman (assist Reyne) and a nifty pass from Ben Henning to Reyne to take a 22-21 edge.
DeCock (10) and Maison Miller (four) combined to score 14 points in just over a two-minute span, lifting RRC to a 35-27 advantage.
Adrian then ran off 10 straight points - beginning with Kemper's third 3, followed by a pair of free throws by Reyne, an inside basket by Taylor Recker (after Lonneman claimed an offensive rebound and fired a pass to Henning who rifled the ball to Lonneman) and a 3-pointer by Recker - to claim a 37-35 edge with 4:50 to play.
It would be, however, Adrian's last lead of the game.
Tyler Halland scored for the Falcons on an offensive rebound, sparking RRC's 12-3 run to close out the first half.
A basket by Lonneman (12 rebounds, six assists) and a 3-point play by Reyne (19 second-half points) trimmed the gap to 47-45 a minute into the second half.
RRC answered with a 3-pointer by Austin Price - the Falcon's only trey of the game - and the lead was 50-45.
With DeCock and Rogotzke (18 points and game-highs of 14 rebounds, eight assists and six blocks) finding each other, the Falcons opened up leads of 63-51, 67-56 and 71-60 before the Dragons rallied one final time by scoring nine of the next 11 points.
But, the Falcons - who shot a remarkable 84 percent (27-of-32) at the free throw line - ended Adrian's season by sinking 8-of-10 from the stripe in the last two minutes.
"I was very proud of our guys and how we played hard all the way to the end," exclaimed veteran Adrian head coach Dean Schnaible. "Earning the chance to play on 'Super Saturday' was a good experience for our young team."
The Dragons, who start one junior (Reyne) and four sophomores, ended the season with a 4-20 overall record, but won four of their last nine games, including a 67-65 victory over Edgerton in the opening round of the tournament.
RRC (16-9) advances to play Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (26-1) in Thursday's semifinals in Worthington, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
RED ROCK CENTRAL 86,
ADRIAN (4-20): Reyne 9-17 12-16 32, Henning 1-2 0-1 2, Aggen 0-1 2-2 2, Kemper 4-15 1-2 12, Lonneman 3-9 1-2 9, Recker 5-16 1-4 12. Totals: 22-60 (37%) 17-27 (63%) 69.
RED ROCK CENTRAL (16-9): Rogotzke 7-17 4-7 18, DeCock 13-17 16-16 42, Blomgren 0-0 4-4 4, Halter 4-8 0-1 8, Price 1-6 1-2 4, Halland 3-5 0-0 6, Miller 1-2 2-2 4. Totals: 29-55 (53%) 27-32 (84%) 86.
Adrian 40 29 -- 69
Red Rock Central 47 39 -- 86
3-Point Goals: Adrian 8-37 (22%) (Kemper 3, Reyne 2, Lonneman 2, Recker 1); RRC 1-11 (9%) (Price). Rebounds: Adrian 29 (Lonneman 12, Recker 8, Reyne 7); RRC 38 (Rogotzke 14, DeCock 8, Halland 5, Miller 5). Total Fouls Adrian 22, RRC 20. Assists: Adrian 11 (Lonneman 6, Reyne 3); RRC 22 (Rogotzke 8, DeCock 7, Halland 3). . Steals: Adrian 4 (Henning 2, Reyne 2) RRC 8 (Halland 3, DeCock 2). Shot Blocks: Adrian 2 (Recker 2), RRC 9 (Rogotzke 6, Halter 2, DeCock). Turnovers: Adrian 6, RRC 11.