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Boys Basketball: Rich East wears out Barron Collier (Fla.)

Updated: December 26, 2013 11:37PM



Making its McDipper debut more than 1,300 miles from its Naples, Fla., home, Barron Collier gave tournament stalwart Rich East all it could handle all it could handle for 3½ quarters Thursday night.

The Rockets, though, pride themselves on wearing opponents out, and that’s exactly what we did against the visitors from the Sunshine State.

Rich East used a late 11-2 run to pull away from a 77-62 win in a first-round game at Rich South.

“I attribute a lot of it to our fitness level,” Rich East coach George Leonard said. “We play at a crazy level and we train for a crazy level. I think we wore them down.”

Leonard said the Rockets’ frenetic style also made it easier to deal with the uncertainty Collier presented.

“It’s a little easier the way we play,” he said. “We’re constantly pressing and we don’t really have to worry about what set plays they’re going to run at us or anything like that.”

Nick Harden had 22 points and seven rebounds to lead Rich East (4-2), which will take on defending champion Marian in Friday’s quarterfinals. Calvin Harrington added 13 points and eight rebounds.

Harden sparked the run that turned a 58-50 game with 5:15 left into a 67-52 game, scoring four quick points on drives to the basket.

“I kind of surprised myself the way I played,” he said. “I just let the game come to me. I got into the lane and I scored and got my guys involved.”

Collier, which got 16 points each from James Grimsley and Devante Walkins, led just once, 11-10 in the first quarter, but had an answer for every Rich East run until late, when the Rockets were quicker to virtually every loose ball and rebound opportunity.

“I definitely think they got fatigued,” Harrington said. “That’s what we want to do to teams.”

Don Henderson (8 rebounds) and Marsean Ross had 12 points each for the Rockets.



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