EDGINGTON — Defense was king for the Rockridge boys’ basketball team on Tuesday night in its 55-23 victory over Three Rivers Conference West foe Riverdale.
The hosting Rockets held the Rams to just seven baskets on 27 attempts while limiting Riverdale to just four second-quarter points and three third-quarter points on 1-of-11 shooting in those two quarters.
Rockridge sophomore Jensen Whiteman led the team with 14 points, including three 3-point baskets. Senior Riley Fetterer and freshman Nate Henry each added 13 points. Fetterer went 2-of-3 from 3-point range while Henry hit his only long-ball attempt.
Rockridge coach Andy Saey said that the Rockets are always going to rely on defense, and so offensive nights like Tuesday are a nice surprise.
“The guys are probably sick of hearing it from me, but it’s always going to be defense first for us,” Saey said. “I’m constantly telling them that we need our defense present every single night. We aren’t consistent enough on offense to rely on our scoring, but our defense is everything. It’s huge for us.”
Riverdale’s first quarter defense held the Rockets to just 12 points, but things opened up for the Rockets in the second and third quarter, scoring 38 points including a 14-0 run to start the third quarter. The Rockets also went an impressive 22-of-45 from the field and 7-of-17 from beyond the arc.
Saey thought the team was thrown off by the Rams’ first quarter defensive showing.
“I don’t think they were ready for the pressure that Riverdale brought out early,” Saey said. “They settled down after the first quarter. I told them to slow down and execute, make extra passes if necessary to the low post or out to the perimeter.”
Key on the night for Rockridge was its ability to shut down Riverdale’s scorers. Senior standout Carter Wainwright was limited to only six points on 2-of-8 shooting. Saey said that that is the Rockets’ game plan every night.
“We have to shut down the main scoring threat,” Saey said. “Tonight we got up and guarded the 3 while limiting Wainwright’s touches. We wanted to make him dribble and make their offense difficult.”
Riverdale’s leading scorer was Zach Antolik with eight points, including 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Riverdale scored nine of its 23 points from the charity stripe.
Henry, along with junior forward Grant Jorgensen led the team in rebounds with six, and the Rockets out-rebounded Riverdale 24-12.