Boys Basketball: Rich East eliminates Rich South
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media March 1, 2013 10:26PM
Updated: April 4, 2013 6:27AM
Down a starter, No. 9 Rich East shared the wealth and shared in a regional championship.
Five players scored eight points or more in the Rockets’ 69-53 win over Rich South in the Class 3A Peotone Regional title game Friday night. Rich East (19-6) will face Coal City (19-12) in a Rich South Sectional semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“It was a true team effort,” Rich East coach George Leonard said. “Don Henderson was out and we really spread the ball around. Everybody did their share.”
Brandon Cole and Russell Wright led the Rockets with 13 points each. Nicholas Horne chipped in 11. Ronald Lawton was among a trio of players with eight points, to go along with a team-best 13 rebounds. Henderson, the team’s leading rebounder, was sidelined because of the stomach flu.
“This is really sweet, especially for the seniors,” Lawton said. “We were missing Don, so I told everybody we had to rebound and we did.”
After Rich South’s Bryce Lydon opened the scoring with a free throw, Rich East scored the next seven points. Demitri Strickland’s three-pointer at the first-quarter horn cut the Rockets’ lead to 13-10. Lawton’s one-handed dunk bumped Rich East’s lead to 23-16 with 4:19 left in the second quarter. Lawton fed Nicholas Harden for a 15-foot jumper and a 33-21 halftime lead.
Horne’s conventional three-point play with 6:30 to play in the third gave Rich East a 37-23 cushion. Rich South had more fouls (8) than points (5) midway through the quarter.
Russell Wright’s acrobatic shot in the lane pushed Rich East to a 47-29 lead with 2:41 to play in the third. Denzel Kimbrough’s long three-pointer sliced the Rockets’ advantage to 47-34 at the end of the third quarter. Washawn Watson’s free throw at 2:21 gave Rich East a 65-45 lead.
Rich South (11-16) received 19 points from Strickland and 16 from Kimbrough.