June 26, 2016

Partly sunny

Buckeye falls to Rittman


Special to The Gazette

RITTMAN —  The Rittman Indians proved to be rude hosts Saturday night, not even allowing Buckeye’s boys basketball team to circle the wagons as they rolled to a 77-60 non-league win.

“Tonight was our best first quarter of the season,” Rittman coach Chad Milosevich. “(Friday) we beat our big rival Doylestown  67-47 (and) I think we were still on a high from that night.”

Whatever it was, it didn’t make Buckeye (0-3) happy as the Indians (4-0) connected on 78.5 percent (11-of-14) of their shots including 3-of-5 from NBA 3-point range. In addition, they outrebounded the Bucks 8-3 as they opened a 27-15 lead.

“How do you defend shooting like that?” Buckeye coach Matt Saunders asked. “We contested all the shots and were even out 25 feet to stop the threes and they shoot them in from 30 feet.”

The Bucks weren’t bad, however, shooting 6-of-12 in the first quarter. Paced by two quick hoops from Brendon Scott (19 points, 7 rebounds) and a trey by Ben Checkelsky (7 points),  they closed within 28-22 early in the second.

That would be the closest they would get as Rittman continued to shred the nets.

The Indians closed out the half on top 42-28 and kept increasing the distance slowly but surely through the remainder of the game.

“It was unbelievable, we would score a two pointer and they would nail a three. We would hit a three and Rittman would hit two threes,” Saunders said. “I felt like I was in quicksand. We couldn’t stop their shooting.”

For the game, Rittman hit just under 50 percent (29-of-59) and was 9-of-21 on treys while Buckeye hit  only four 3-pointers — a difference of 15 points between the teams.

‘We have a lot of good shooters and they all have green lights to let it go,” Milosevich said. “In our first four games, we’re averaging over 67 points. We don’t match up heightwise with most of the teams we play, so we have to do it with our quickness, getting up and down the court and getting somebody open for a good shot.”

The Indians got a lot of players open for good shots but Brent Hatfield (20 points) did most of the damage. When Rittman did miss, Barrett Gasser (13 points, 11 rebounds) and Logan Rufener (13 points, 5 rebounds) were there to either put it back in or start the rotation over again.

Again, Buckeye was not that bad, also hitting 50 percent of its shots (24-of-48) and only being outrebounded 29-28. The Bucks did make 20 turnovers to Rittman’s 11.

“When you fall behind like we did, you have a tendency to hurry everything, your passes, your shots, to try and get it all back at once,” Saunders said. “Also, a team that is trying to catch up tires out quicker and fatigue leads to a lot of mistakes.”

Bright spots for Buckeye besides the play of Scott  were the efforts  of Ricky Smetana (11 points, 5 boards), Cody Reisner  (10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and Darren Boulton (10 points).

The Bucks were without the services of Mike Smetana, who was held out while recovering from an infection but will be ready to play Tuesday against Wellington.