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BOYS BASKETBALL: Falcons rally past Rebels

Red Rock Central's Henry Rogotzke handles a rebound as Murray County Central's Cole Bly looks on during a Red Rock Conference game Monday in Slayton. Jeff Arenz/Daily Globe1 / 2
Murray County Central's Grant Everson handles the ball as Red Rock Central's Jeff DeCock defends during a Red Rock Conference game Monday in Slayton. Jeff Arenz/Daily Globe2 / 2

SLAYTON -- The Red Rock Central Falcons held off Murray County Central's upset bid Monday night, claiming a 67-63 Red Rock Conference road victory in the final regular season game for both teams before the Section 3A South postseason begins on Thursday.

The Falcons saw their early 9-0 lead, which took 2 minutes and 20 seconds to build, evaporate as the Rebels turned the tables with a 13-2 run to take a 13-11 lead on a Sam Erickson 3 from the left wing on an assist from Aaron Boock at 10:53.

MCC maintained the edge through halftime until the final minute when RRC completed its comeback.

"It was a quick start for us and I think the kids thought that it was going too easy for us," Falcons' head coach Brian Walker said. "Then MCC hit some shots and definitely tested us all the way to the end.

"Give our kids a lot of credit for hanging in there. We were down 10 points in the second half, but we found a way (to win)."

The Falcons, which trailed 41-31 after Jack Thony (eight points) made a floater in the paint with 14:25 left, used Jeff DeCock's ability to penetrate the paint and reach the free-throw line to cut the lead to two (43-41) with 11:45 to go.

DeCock (nine rebounds, six assists) finished with a game-high 31 points with 13 of his markers coming on 19 attempts at the charity stripe.

However, the Rebels had effectively shut down Red Rock Central's 6-foot-5 senior post Henry Rogotzke up until that point.

"I'm really proud of our guys' effort (Monday)," Murray County Central head coach Tim Bobeldyk said. "We stuck to the game plan and we took away Rogotzke inside -- took away the passes and his touches. We held him to no points into halftime.

"We knew that Jeff DeCock was going to look at penetrating. We did a fairly decent job at (limiting him), but he's just a great athlete."

Rogotzke, who grabbed 18 of the Falcons' 43 rebounds but struggled from the field and on free throws, scored his first field goal of the game with 9:47 remaining when DeCock assisted him on a bucket from the left block.

"We finally got Henry Rogotzke going a little bit," Walker said. "He was having a pretty tough night getting the ball; getting a handle on it, making shots, making free throws -- you name it. But we found a way at the end of the game to figure it."

The Falcons managed to tie the game at 61 with a Rogotzke 3 from the top of the key with 2:30 left and completed the comeback with 38 seconds showing when Austin Price assisted Rogotzke in the low post for a 64-63 lead.

Rogotzke (three steals) finished 6 of 14 from the field and 2 of 13 on free throws to finish with 15 points.

"I haven't been playing that well lately," Rogotzke said. "I didn't get any shots in over the weekend. It's been rough, but I knew that I had to keep playing, get a lot of boards and just try to get my team going."

The Rebels, who had eight players score in the game, couldn't answer following that basket and the Falcons iced the game with free throws, which proved to be crucial for both sides.

"We played high intensity and got our looks and made our shots," Bobeldyk said. "But it came down to small things and we were 5 of 19 on free throws. You don't win many games doing that."

Red Rock Central went to the charity stripe 39 times and converted 18, while shooting 22 of 60 (37%) from the field. In addition to MCC's 5-for-19 effort on free throws, the Rebels shot 44 percent from the field (25 of 57).

Grant Everson (two steals) paced the Rebels with 14 points on four 3's, while Erickson (two steals) added 13 points on three 3's, Cole Bly finished with 11 and Logan Kluis and Nick Peterson each had six points. MCC had 31 team rebounds, led by Bly and Boock with seven boards each.

Austin Price sparked RRC's game-opening run with a right-wing 3 and finished with four perimeter makes for 12 points.

Red Rock Central improved to 15-9 overall and finished tied for third in the conference with Hills-Beaver Creek with a 10-6 league mark. The Falcons are the No. 3-seed in the Section 3A South tournament and play the winner of No. 11 Adrian and No. 6 Edgerton in the quarterfinals at 4:00 p.m. Saturday in Worthington.

Murray County Central dropped to 3-19 overall and 3-13 in the league. The Rebels are seeded 10th and travel to play No. 7 Westbrook-Walnut Grove in the opening round on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in Westbrook.

The Rebels lost both meetings with the Chargers during the regular season (59-52 on Jan.4 in Slayton and 72-60 on Feb. 15 in Westbrook).



RED ROCK CENTRAL (15-9, 10-6): Rogotzke 6-14 2-13 15, Sohre 0-0 1-2 1, DeCock 9-26 13-19 31, Blomgren 0-3 1-2 1, Halter 1-3 0-2 2, Holman 1-1 0-0 3, Engen 0-0 0-0 0, Price 4-12 0-0 12, Halland 1-1 0-0 2, Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-60 (37%) 17-39 (44%) 67.

MURRAY COUNTY CENTRAL (3-19, 3-13: Thony 3-10 1-5 8, Kluis 3-8 0-0 6, Bass 1-2 1-23, Bly 5-6 1-6, Peterson 3-3 0-0 6, Erickson 5-12 0-0 13 Everson 4-12 2-6 14, Schrieber 0-0 0-0 0, Boock 1-3 0-0 2, Reinsma 0-1 0-0 0, Whitehead 0-0 0-0. Totals: 25-57 (44%) 5-19 (26%) 63.

Red Rock Central 27 40 -- 67

Murray County Central 31 32 -- 63

3-Point Goals: RRC 6-23 (26%) (Price 4-12, Holman 1-1, Rogotzke 1-1, DeCock 0-7, Blomgren 0-1, Halter 0-1); MCC 8-24 (33%) (Everson 4-8, Erickson 3-9, Thony 1-5, Boock 0-2). Rebounds: RRC 43 (Rogotzke 18, DeCock 9); MCC 31 (Bly 7, Boock 7). Total Fouls (Fouled Out): RRC 17 (None); MCC 25 (Bly). Technical Fouls: None. Assists: RRC 15 (DeCock 6); MCC 13 (Kluis 3, Boock 3). Steals: RRC 9 (DeCock 4, Rogotzke 3); MCC 7 (Erickson 2, Everson 2). Blocked Shots: RRC 2 (Rogotzke, DeCock); MCC 2 (Thony, Erickson). Turnovers: RRC 9, MCC 13.