November 27, 2021

Timing’s right for Rockets in easy victory

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DERUYTER — Timing was everything for the DeRuyter Rockets Monday night.

From disrupting the timing of the McGraw Eagles offense to calling a critical timeout at just the right time, to Riley Glisson perfectly timing McGraw passes in a highlight reel sequence in the third quarter, the Rockets were able to coast to an 84-56 home victory.

The Rockets got out to an early double-digit lead thanks to hot shooting and smooth playmaking by Gavin Richardson (13 points, eight rebounds) and Ben Barnes (21 points, nine assists). On the defensive side, they employed the full-court press from the opening tip, leading to turnovers and poor shot selection by the Eagles.

The Rockets led by 11 after one quarter, but midway through the second quarter, they appeared to take their feet off the gas pedal a little bit. That gave the Eagles a window to make a run for it. Caleb Smith (12 points, seven rebounds) and Zach LaMarre (12 points, seven rebounds) sparked the Eagles offense to get within two possessions with about two minutes to go before halftime.

At that point, Rockets coach Ric Barnes called a savvy timeout. He got his players to get back on an even keel, and the Eagles would not get any closer the rest of the game, as the Rockets were able to pad the lead back up to nine at halftime.

But that was just the beginning for the Rockets.

After a comparatively quiet first half, Glisson exploded in the third quarter. He played suffocating defense, collecting six steals, and turned most of those into points on the other end. At one point in the third quarter, he went on an 11-0 run by himself, including steals of two inbound passes by the Eagles, one in the defensive zone that forced a timeout by McGraw coach Derek Allen, and another one right out of the timeout.

Glisson finished the night with a game-high 24 points, and the Rockets outscored the Eagles 25-10 in the third quarter.

Tristan Worlock added eight points and two steals for the Rockets. Quentin Burdick had eight points and two rebounds and Mike Levitskiy had six points and two rebounds off the bench for the Eagles.

With the victory well in hand, Barnes used the fourth quarter to spread the love among his reserves. Dylan Skeele and Shelton Thompson each scored six points off the bench for the Rockets. All told, every player on the Rockets roster got minutes by the end of the game.

McGraw is off until next Tuesday when they host Cincinnatus at 6 p.m. DeRuyter visits Cincinnatus this Wednesday, also at 6 p.m.