HAMLET — Oregon-Davis added South Bend Riley to its schedule this year to give the Bobcats a challenge.
And that’s exactly what the Wildcats did.
Riley’s defensive pressure generated 35 OD turnovers, while the Wildcats showed balance on the offensive end with five players contributing meaningful points production. The visitors put the game away early, jumping out to a 30-point cushion in the first half en route to a 71-35 victory over host Oregon-Davis at The Den Wednesday night.
“We knew going into the game that turnovers would be key,” said OD head coach Matt Crawford. “When we didn’t turn the ball over I thought we did some pretty good things just handling the pressure. We knew that they would come out and pressure us. They’ve got athletes, they have speed. They’ve got weapons.”
Riley saw two players in double figures with Brock Cosey scoring 11 and Micah Williams finishing with 10, but the Wildcats spread their offense across the scoresheet as Alan Redd, Reontre’ Lawrence and Joshua Hodge all finished with nine points. That balance made it tough for the Bobcats to find the stops they needed to stay in the game.
Even tougher was the Riley defensive pressure as the visitors opened the game in a fullcourt press and, even once they backed off of that, continued to get out in the passing lanes in the halfcourt to disrupt OD’s ball movement and pick off passes for easy transition points.
The Bobcats had already surrendered 30 of their turnovers by the start of the fourth quarter, although the final period did provide a bright spot for the home team as it outscored Riley 12-5.
“We won the fourth quarter, which is great for the kids to respond,” said Crawford. “Overall, we’ve just got to get better at handling the ball and keeping the ball a little bit more secure.”
The Bobcats were led by eight points from senior Dalton Taylor — who has pledged to donate cans of food to the Starke County Food Pantry for each point he scores this season. Zach Johnston, Carl Schnekenburger and Henry Clark each finished with six points, and sophomore forward Joel Worthington finished with five points, seven rebounds and two blocks for his team.
“I thought going in it was going to be a great test for Joel because they had some bigs that were active, that were strong. I really thought Joel played like a man,” Crawford said. “It was probably the best defensively I’ve ever seen Joel play, and I was super pleased with him.”
Wednesday’s contest was the first game in the series between the two teams, and it was a fitting night for the little Class A OD team to take on Class 4A Riley as the school hosted a pre-game ceremony to hang the jerseys of Scott Blum and Todd Blair and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Bobcats’ 1988 sectional championship run back in the days of the single class state tournament.
“I think it’s huge to play a bigger school like that. For just the kids to see that basketball, it doesn’t matter the size of the school, it matters what you do between the lines,” said Crawford. “I grew up playing basketball in non-class so to me playing bigger schools was just the norm and I think when you get a chance to do that it kind of gets back to that a little bit and it’s neat to see.”
Riley improves to 3-1 bouncing back from a one-point loss at Northridge last Friday. OD slips to 0-4 and will travel to Washington Township Saturday.
• RILEY 71, OREGON-DAVIS 35
Score by quarters
Riley: 24 47 66 71
OD: 9 17 23 35
RILEY (71): JaQuan Walker 2, Alan Redd 9, Torreay Harris 3, Sherard Cosey 3, Micah Williams 10, Miquan Patton 3, Brock Cosey 11, Thaddeus Phillips 3, Keshawn Winbush 6, Reontre’ Lawrence 9, Joshua Hodge 9, Ja’mare Washington 3; Totals: 26 13-21 71.
OREGON-DAVIS (35): Zach Johnston 6, Dalton Taylor 8, Matt Minix 4, Cameron Clark 0, Carl Schnekenburger 6, Henry Clark 6, Joel Worthington 5; Totals: 14 7-12 35.
3-pointers: Riley 6 (Williams 2, Redd, Patton, B. Cosey, Lawrence), OD 0; Rebounds: Riley 37 (Washington 7), OD 22 (Worthington 7); Turnovers: Riley 20, OD 35; Steals: Riley 18 (Redd 3, Hodge 3), OD 3; Assists: Riley 12 (Harris 4, B. Cosey 4), OD 5; Fouls (fouled out): Riley 13 (none), Oregon-Davis 16 (none).
Records: OD 0-4, Riley 3-1