RANDOLPH — The Rio prep boys basketball team entered Tuesday’s Trailways West Conference game against Randolph on a four-game winning streak and averaging 70.7 points a game for the season.
But that didn’t stop the Rockets from sinking the Vikings as they held them to a season-low point total in a 62-47 win for Randolph.
“No question, (Rio) is a very strong ball club and they’re well coached,” Randolph head coach Tyler Fischer said. “We had a game plan and hunkered down and really helped and got out to the shooters. I don’t think they shot the ball as well as what they have in the past, so that helps.
“Rebounding in the first half was very good. I don’t think they had an offensive rebound in the first half, which is huge for us and our group. We’ve got to keep doing that.”
The difference was Randolph (14-6, 9-3 Trailways West) could hit their baskets and Rio (15-4, 9-3) — the sixth ranked team in Division 5 according to the Associated Press and ninth according to the WisSports.net Coaches Poll — had a hard time finding good looks. And when the Vikings did find opportunities to shoot, they just didn’t drop.
“Shots didn’t fall and at times we didn’t execute the way we wanted to,” Rio head coach Tim Struck said. “What we were looking to do offensively, we weren’t getting done.”
Randolph wasn’t afraid to shoot from beyond the arc when needed and also used a strong post game and seemingly drove to the basket at will to go into halftime with a 30-17 lead.
A big reason for the advantage at the break was that the Rockets got out to a 16-4 lead that was capped off by a Brayden Haffele layup with 10 minutes, 47 seconds left in the half. Haffele finished with 11 points.
“Our goal is to just be patient and get a good shot,” Fischer said. “We were getting some good looks and they were going down.
“All looks good when the ball is going into the hole. We’ll definitely take it.”
After halftime, the Vikings scored first when Bryce Staveness got a bunny to fall about a minute into the second half to make it 30-19. But after that, Randolph’s Jake Roberts’s triple at the top of the key started a 7-4 run to raise the lead to 37-21 with 13:37 left to play.
Roberts led the Rockets with 21 points. Meantime, Sawyer Westra finished with 14 points.
“Jake inside, that little five-six footer in front of the rim, is pretty consistent,” Fischer said. “When we can get him looks there that’s a good offensive possession for us.”
With Randolph leading 47-28 with 7:54 left, Rio’s Brandon Rowe got a layup to drop 24 seconds later and a triple to drop moments after that to start a 14-0 run that cut the Rockets lead to 49-42 with 4:28 left.
“They were playing with heart,” Struck said. “The kids wanted it and they fought for it. That’s what we had to do.”
Rowe led Rio with 16 points and Grant Moll had 11.
“Rowe was our main focus — him and Moll,” Fischer said. “We got our best defender on Rowe, which is Cobey Alderden. We tried to get him and a little bit of Sawyer Westra on him to mix it up. But there’s only so much you can do against a good player.
“We didn’t get the help that we needed down that stretch. They were getting to the rim and hitting outside shots. We didn’t have the help on defense. If there’s a disappointing thing, it’s the defense in that stretch there in that second half.”
Fischer said his Rockets knew that run was coming.
“We talked to the guys at halftime that they’re not shooting the ball well yet, but it’s going to come,” he said. “We can expect that tidal wave to hit. We’ve just got to withstand it.”
Randolph did just that and once the Vikings’ big run ended, the Rockets answered back by scoring 12 of the final 15 points to close out the game.
“That was a big run,” Fischer said. “I know we had a couple timeouts in there and we got empty possessions out of breaks and credit to them, they were pressuring and gambling. Then we finally got to the free-throw line later and got some good looks.
“They’re a good team, a very good team.”
RANDOLPH 62, RIO 47
Rio 17 30 - 47
Randolph 30 32 - 62
Rio (47) – Dillon Scott 9, Brandon Rowe 16, Ryan Lang 2, Grant Moll 11, Trajon Prochnow 5, Nathan Rippl 2, Bryce Staveness 2. TOTALS (FGS FTM-FTA PTS): 16 12-20 47.
Randolph (62) – Cobey Alderden 3, Austin Syvertson 2, Dalton Fuller 3, Brayden Haffele 11, Peyton Moldenhauer 2, Sawyer Westra 14, Jake Roberts 21, Levi Alsum 6. TOTALS (FGS FTM-FTA PTS): 24 11-15 62.
3-pointers: Ri 3 (Scott 1, Rowe 1, Prochnow 1), Ra 3 (Haffele 1, Roberts 2). Total fouls: Ri 12, Ra 16. Fouled out: Ri – Scott. Ra – none.