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Sectional first round SB Tribune article

High school basketball: Riley, Plymouth advance

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014 5:37 am

SOUTH BEND — When a guy’s as hot as Riley’s Micah Williams was Wednesday night, all Clay basketball coach Joe Huppenthal could do was sit back and appreciate the effort.

The more intense the defense, the better Williams shot.

He hit four first-quarter 3-pointers, five for the game, and all-told hit nine of 10 shots for 23 points to lead the Wildcats (13-8) past the Colonials (5-17), 76-60, in the Class 4-A sectional at Washington.

Defense took center stage in Wednesday’s nightcap.

Plymouth (11-10) limited Mishawaka (4-17) to three first-half baskets. The Pilgrims led 20-9 at intermission and went on to a 53-34 victory.

Riley and Plymouth will meet in Friday’s second semifinal. In the opener at 6 p.m. Friday, Washington (14-4) will take on Penn (20-1).

Riley 76, Clay 60: When Clay got up close on Williams, a 6-foot-4 sharpshooter, he’d just step back a little further and let it fly.

A few of his five 3-pointers were several feet beyond the arc.

“I was in a rhythm, so it felt real good,” Williams said. “The point guard (Junior Scott) was getting me the ball where I needed it.

“There’s a lot of technique (involved). Follow through. If I’m shooting flat, I don’t have my feet under me.”

“(Williams) has unbelievable range,” said Riley coach Mark Johnson. “When he’s in a rhythm, he’s really tough.”

“The amazing thing was, every one of those shots (by Williams), we had a hand in his face,” said Huppenthal. “Those things were deep. All you can do is tip your cap.”

While the cap was being tipped, the Riley lead was expanding.

Williams played a major role in an early 12-2 Wildcat lead. Clay would make a run, then Riley would take its turn. The difference was four late in the first quarter and five, 24-19, early in the second.

Riley inside threat Ja’Mare Washington had eight of his 16 points — and five of his nine rebounds — at the break to help forge a 37-21 advantage.

Clay — led by Martavious Richmond (15 points), Sherard Cosey (14), TJ Hursey (12) and Dion Harris (10 points, 12 rebounds) — kept battling.

The pivotal sequence came early in the fourth quarter. A basket by Cosey cut the Riley lead to 56-48.

“I said (to an assistant coach), ‘If (Clay) cuts it to six, we’re in trouble,’” Johnson said. “We knew they would make a run. We couldn’t put them away.”

Riley’s Reontre’ Lawrence, who scored 11, found his way through the Clay defense to keep the Colonials at bay. In fact, Lawrence scored back-to-back buckets that pushed the gap to double digits for good.

“One more stop,” said Huppenthal. “We were one stop away. That was the story of our season.”

RILEY (76): Ja’Mare Washington 5 6-8 16, Reontre’ Lawrence 3 5-6 11, Micah Williams 9 0-0 23, JaQuan Walker 0 7-12 7, Junior Scott 2 5-9 9, Thaddeus Phillips 2 0-1 4, Miquan Patton 2 0-2 4, Joshua Hodge 1 0-0 2, Jadon Grundy 0 0-0 0, Tyler Shell 0 0-0 0, Randell Thurman 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 24 23-38 76.

CLAY (60): Sherard Cosey 6 1-2 14, Martavious Richmond 7 0-0 15, TJ Hursey 4 0-0 12, Dion Harris 5 0-2 10, Jalen Clark 2 0-0 5, D’Ante Franklin 0 0-0 0, Traylen Simpson 1 0-0 2, Tevin Arnold 1 0-0 2, Justin Packingham 0 0-0 0, Thaias Burris 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 26 1-4 60.

Riley 20 37 55 76
Clay 13 21 43 60

Shooting: Riley 24 of 45 (54 percent), Clay 26 of 55 (46 percent); 3-point goals: Riley 5 (Williams 5), Clay 7 (Hursey 4, Clark 1, Cosey 1, Richmond 1); Rebounds: Riley 38 (Washington 9), Clay 22 (Harris 12); Total fouls (fouled out): Riley 6 (none), Clay 25 (none); Turnovers: Riley 12, Clay 12; Officials: Bob Neff, Russell Brown, Scott Dickson. Records: Riley 13-8, Clay 5-17.