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home : sports : sports April 30, 2016

1/28/2013 11:03:00 AM
Maroons whip Flora, 69-58, for third
Sports Editor

It wasn't the one they wanted, but Robinson High School's boys' basketball team still brought home some hardware from their first-ever appearance in the Little Illini Conference Basketball Tournament.

The Maroons bounced back from Tuesday's semifinal loss to Newton with a convincing, 69-58 victory over Flora in the third-place game Thursday night at Casey-Westfield High School.

"We won third place and we will take it," RHS head coach Mack Thompson said. "We were able to get Tuesday's loss off our back and beat a good Flora team. This was a big win for us and it was good to come out and perform well heading into eight days off."

A refocused Robinson squad was in control virtually from the outset after building a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter, but did not completely put the game away until the fourth quarter.

"Our energy and focus was better, especially on the defensive end," Thompson said. "Our effort was great at practice Wednesday and we put the pedal to the metal and got back to doing what we do. Because of how hard we practiced Wednesday, I thought we might come out like world-beaters early and then lose our legs a little bit and that is what happened."

After Flora scored the first basket of the game, Robinson ripped off the next seven points and never trailed again. Cory Blount tied the game for the Maroons at the 6:15 mark, then Brayden Scott hit a driving, spinning layup and followed that with a three-pointer to give RHS a 7-2 lead with 4:45 remaining in the opening period. Flora began to heat up from the outside and closed the gap to 11-10 with 3:15 to play, but a baseline floater and three-pointer from Aaron Siler and a layup by Derrick Nicholas pushed the RHS lead to 18-10 with 1:25 left. A Flora three-pointer closed the gap to 18-13, but a layup by Nicholas, a dunk by Michael Akande after a Siler steal and a baseline jumper by Siler pushed the RHS lead to 24-14 after the first eight minutes.

Robinson opened the second quarter on a 10-2 run to extend their advantage to 34-16 with 5:35 to go, but Flora put together a 10-2 run of their own to pull within 10, then scored the final three points of the period to close the gap to 38-29 at halftime.

The Maroons stayed the course in the third quarter and never let Flora seriously threaten the lead. Baskets by Akande and Nicholas sandwiched around a Flora free throw gave RHS a 42-30 lead early in the third, before four straight Flora points closed the gap to 42-34 with 4:42 to play. Scott followed with two free throws at the 3:31 mark, then Akande and Nicholas hit back-to-back hoops for a 6-0 RHS run that made the score 48-34 with 1:50 remaining. However, Flora got three-pointers from Christian Taylor and Brenden Thomas to pull the Wolves within 48-40 with 57 seconds left, but Scott put back a RHS miss with 40 seconds left to give the Maroons a 50-40 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Siler then took over the opening minutes of the final period to erase any hope of a Flora comeback. The senior guard scored Robinson's first seven points of the period on a jumper, a three-pointer and two free throws as part of a 9-3 RHS spurt to stretch the lead to 59-43 with 5:55 to play. Flora would score six straight points to trim the margin back to 10, 59-49, with 3:20 to play, but a driving layup by Scott and another three-pointer by Siler got the lead back up to 15, 64-49, with 2:35 remaining. The Maroons still had a 15-point lead in the final minute before four Flora free throws cut the final margin to 11.

Regardless of the final margin, it was an impressive showing for the Maroons, who needed a performance like this to help them get back on track.

"Our overall effort was better tonight," Thompson said. "We got back to not just doing the fundamentals because we always do that, but fine-tuning those fundamentals and doing the things we have done to be an 18, now 19-win ball club."

One thing the Maroons did extremely well Thursday was shoot the ball, to the tune of a 52-percent clip. Robinson made 28-54 field goal attempts overall, including 23-44 from two-point range (52 percent) and 5-10 from three-point range (50 percent). Meanwhile, Flora made just 39 percent of their shots from the floor (19-49), but the long ball kept them in the game. The Wolves connected on 9-21 three-pointers (43 percent), while hitting just 10-28 from inside the arc (36 percent). Robinson did struggle a little bit at the free throw line, making 8-13 foul shots (62 percent), while Flora was 11-15 at the charity stripe (73 percent).

Another balanced scoring attack paced the Maroons, with four players reaching double figures.

Siler led the way with 22 points, including 10 in the first quarter and 10 more in the fourth, along with three rebounds, three steals, three assists and one blocked shot.

"Aaron had a great night," Thompson said. "He shot the ball well, looked really comfortable and took good shots."

Nicholas totaled 15 points, 12 rebounds, five blocked shots, two assists and one steal, Scott posted 13 points, nine rebounds, one steal and one assist, Akande netted 10 points and six rebounds, Blount contributed four points, three assists, two steals and one rebound, Austin Weck pitched in with two points, one steal, one assist and one blocked shot, Cole Chipman added two points, one rebound and one blocked shot and Jason Richart had one point and one rebound.

"Derrick was able to battle inside and get 15 and that was one of our keys, to establish him inside early and often," Thompson said. "He is a good passer and good finisher, so we want to get it to him as much as possible when he is open. Brayden was a lot more focused tonight. He made some good defensive plays for us, including taking a charge and did some good things on the offensive end. Michael was trying to dunk everything and had some trouble finishing around the basket or it could have been a 20-point game."

Taylor led Flora with 17 points, seven rebounds, three steals and one assist, while Ethan Leib posted 16 points, nine rebounds, two steals and one assist.

Robinson (19-3) will be off for the next week before playing host to Newton for a LIC contest Friday, Feb. 1, at 6:15 p.m. The Maroons will also play next Saturday, Feb. 2, at home against Castle, Ind.

"We will hit the weight room tomorrow, then take Saturday off before getting back after it Monday through Wednesday as we prepare for Newton," Thompson said. "The kids have some fire in their eyes after Tuesday and we will get a chance to redeem ourselves."

2013 Little Illini Conference

Boys Basketball Tournament

At Casey-Westfield High School

Third-Place Game

Flora 14 15 11 18 - 58

Robinson 24 14 12 19 - 69

FLORA (58)

Bryce Pearce 0-0 3-9 0-0 9, Brenden Thomas 0-5 1-1 0-0 3, Clayton Walden 0-1 0-1 2-2 2, Ethan Leib 6-9 0-1 4-4 16, Cory Moore 1-2 0-0 3-4 5, Christian Taylor 0-3 5-9 2-5 17, Flo Hozay 1-4 0-0 0-0 2, Blake Shehorn 2-4 0-0 0-0 4, TOTALS 10-28 2FG, 9-21 3FG, 11-15 FT, 58 TP.


Aaron Siler 4-8 4-6 2-2 22, Cory Blount 2-4 0-1 0-0 4, Cole Chipman 0-1 0-0 2-2 2, Austin Weck 1-2 0-1 0-0 2, Landen Hoagland 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Jason Richart 0-0 0-0 1-2 1, Brayden Scott 4-6 1-2 2-2 13, Derrick Nicholas 7-13 0-0 1-5 15, Michael Akande 5-10 0-0 0-0 10, TOTALS 23-44 2FG, 5-10 3FG, 8-13 FT, 69 TP.

Turnovers - FHS 14, RHS 13. Team fouls - FHS 12, RHS 17. Fouled out - Shehorn. Technical foul - none. Rebounds - (FHS 29) Leib 9, Taylor 7, Hozay 4, Thomas 4. (RHS 34) Nicholas 12, Scott 9, Akande 6, Siler 3, Blount, Chipman, Hoagland, Richart. Steals - (FHS 6) Leib 2, Pearce, Walden, Taylor, Shehorn. (RHS 8) Siler 3, Blount 2, Weck, Scott, Nicholas. Assists - (FHS 12) Pearce 3, Thomas 3, Taylor 3. (RHS 10) Siler 3, Blount 3, Nicholas 2, Weck, Scott. Blocked shots - (FHS 4) Shehorn 3, Pearce. (RHS 8) Nicholas 5, Siler, Chipman, Weck.

Next game - Robinson (19-3) will play host to Newton Friday, Feb. 1, at 6:15 p.m.

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