WALKERTON — The Wildcats used their team speed to jump out to an early lead at John Glenn Tuesday. By the time the Falcons adjusted to the game tempo, it was already too late.
South Bend Riley used zone pressure both in the full- and the halfcourt to fluster Glenn’s young players into early turnovers and utilized good team speed to create some transition buckets and grab a 17-4 lead at the first quarter break, stretching the gap to 22 points at the half.
The Falcons played with the visitors throughout the second half and even outscored them in the fourth quarter, but they never whittled the deficit down to less than 12 in an eventual 66-51 loss at home at The Aerie.
“Our biggest concern right now is defense,” said Glenn head coach Travis Hannah. “We gave up too many points in the first half. If you can’t put the ball in the hole your defense has to hold you in it. Our defense didn’t hold us. They were playing at a different speed than we were in the first half. I think in the second half we kind of figured it out a little bit.”
If Riley’s overall speed caused Glenn some initial problems, the Wildcats’ size in the frontcourt gave the Falcons outright fits.
Riley won the battle of the boards by a decisive 26-13 margin — led by Ja’mare Washington’s double-double of 10 rebounds to go with 12 points — parlaying that advantage into plenty of second-chance points and fastbreak layups off the outlet, while the Wildcats’ zone kept Glenn out of the paint all night.
Instead, the Falcons had to do most of their scoring from beyond the arch.
The home team knocked down an impressive 11 of 28 3-pointers — including a red-hot 10-of-16 conversion clip from deep in the second half, mostly on inside-out passes to the corners — as Jake Strong knocked down three and Adam Stull, Isaac Keldsen, Drew McDonald and Nathan Stegemiller buried two apiece.
“We don’t have a lot of size right now until Levi Schleg gets to the point as a sophomore where he can play inside the post. Alec Runyan is a 150-pound freshman that we’re trying to put inside and play against guys that are three times his size,” said Hannah. “It’s a learning experience. Until we can create some driving opportunities and some post play, what you see is what you’re going to get right now.”
Riley was paced by senior guard Brock Cosey’s 16 points — including 11 in the first frame to spark the Wildcats — while Washington finished with 12 and freshman Reontre’ Lawrence put up 10 points.
Glenn was led by sophomore Strong’s all-around game of 18 points with four assists and six rebounds, but the Falcons saw respectable production from six different players as McDonald and Tyler Prentkowski each finished with seven points, Stegemiller and Stull both chipped in six, and Runyan tallied five points.
“Jake struggled the first two games, and he’s struggling right now to find his spot,” Hannah said. “We’re trying to get him to play a little bit inside because we don’t have a lot of size; tonight you saw him step out on the perimeter a little more, which is where he’s more comfortable. We’ve just got to find a comfortable spot for him and for us at the same time. It was good to see him get off, but we’ve got to have solid production from the supporting cast.”
While Riley moves to 2-0 on the year, the young Falcons slip to an 0-3 start with another home match-up with Concord looming on Friday.
It’s not the win-loss mark Glenn would like, but with an overwhelmingly young lineup facing a tough front end stretch of 4A programs, Hannah is happy with his team’s progress so far.
“These kids are getting better every day in practice,” said the Glenn skipper. “Honestly, November, December doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot for us. It’s going to be once we get into conference season and once we get into the postseason. My job is to get them ready by February, and we’ll get there. I’m confident in this group.”
• SOUTH BEND RILEY 66, JOHN GLENN 51
Score by quarters
Riley: 17 40 42 66
Glenn: 4 18 34 51
RILEY (66): Brock Cosey 16, Ja’mare Washington 12, Reontre’ Lawrence 10, Torreay Harris 9, Alan Redd 7, Micah Williams 6, Keyshawn Winbush 4, Joshua Hodge 2, JaQuan Walker 0, Miquan Patton 0; Totals: 26 9-13 66.
GLENN (51): Jake Strong 18, Drew McDonald 7, Tyler Prentkowski 7, Nathan Stegemiller 6, Adam Stull 6, Alec Runyan 5, Austen Hayes 2, Calvin Kretchmer 0, Levi Schleg 0, Isaac Keldsen 0; Totals: 18 4-8 51.
3-pointers: Riley 5 (Cosey 4, Harris 1), Glenn 11 (Strong 3, Stull 2, Keldsen 2, McDonald 2, Stegemiller 2); Turnovers: Riley 11, Glenn 14; Rebounds: Riley 26 (Washington 10), Glenn 13 (Strong 6); Assists: Riley 12 (Harris 4, Cosey 3), Glenn 14 (Strong 4, Stegemiller 3); Steals: Riley 7 (Redd 2), Glenn 6 (Stegemiller 2); Fouls (fouled out): Riley 15 (none), Glenn 12 (none).
Records: Glenn 0-3, Riley 2-0