Multiple Teams · Riley wins opener in LaPorte

The following is the South Bend Tribune article about the Boys Varsity Basketball game from 11/26/13 vs LaPorte.

High school boys basketball: Efficient ’Cats top Slicers

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:36 am



LAPORTE — In every aspect of Tuesday’s boys basketball game, Riley had an answer.

Early on, the Wildcats relied on shooting. Micah Williams hit five 3-pointers in the first half. Then, Ja’mare Washington established a presence inside with a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Later, Reontre’ Lawrence took over with 10 points in the fourth quarter. Finally, clutch free throws – 18 of 21 overall – late in the game allowed Riley to hold off a resilient LaPorte team.

Riley returned with a 76-65 victory in the season opener and a clear recipe for success in the 2013-14 season. When rust could be expected, the Wildcats looks well oiled to start a promising winter.

“You assume that your team is able to make plays,” said Riley head coach Mark Johnson. “We were very well-balanced today, and I thought we had some players that made some very good plays.”

None may have been bigger than a 3-pointer from Miquan Patton late in the third quarter. The Slicers surged to a 49-48 lead, their first since early in the first quarter, after a 19-10 run to start the second half. Seconds later, Patton nailed a jumper from the corner to regain the lead and stymie the Slicer momentum.

The Wildcats wouldn’t surrender the lead for the remainder of the game.

“There were opportunities where we could have lost the game,” Johnson said. “In the first games that you play, somehow you have to figure out how to fight through times when things don’t go very well. When we got down by one after leading the whole game, we were able to come back and hit a big shot. That put us up by two and then we were able to get a stop and play it out.”

A 3-pointer from Patton, who hit only two field goals all game, fit the pattern for Riley. Nearly every player to receive minutes made an impact with a big moment. Some had their flashes, like Williams’ 17 points in the first half and Maurice Scott’s four clutch free throws in the fourth quarter. Some remained a presence all game long like Washington.

The 6-foot-4 center was glad to wrestle for rebounds down low in the first half while Williams was lighting it up from deep.

“That’s my main job to get defensive rebounds and offensive rebounds if I can,” Washington said. “I have to crash the boards hard and make sure the inside presence is there.”

Washington knows he’ll find offensive opportunities off the glass. He’s willing to wait if the outside shooters are lighting it up.

“Once he gets going it’s hard to stop him,” Washington said of Williams. “If you get the ball in his hands, he can shoot it.”

LaPorte head coach Tom Wells said his defense took too long to make Williams uncomfortable.

“He’s shooting it from deep and he gets rid of it pretty quickly,” Wells said. “We have to move a little bit better in the zone. There’s no way we can give up six three-balls to one guy. After two or three, you have to realize that.”

Lawrence delivered the offense in the final quarter, scoring 10 of his 17 points, before the Slicers unsuccessfully tried to foul their way back into the game. Even Scott, a freshman point guard making his first varsity start, came through to hit all four of his free throws.

“We expect our point guard to make those things,” Johnson said. “When you have a point guard that makes free throws in the clutch, that says something for his character.”

The Slicers played well, keeping themselves in the game with nine 3-pointers, but couldn’t muster enough defensive stops down the stretch. Senior guard Josh Fleming led LaPorte with 20 points, and Jacob Jones added 19.

When Riley puts together a night like it did on Tuesday, area teams will struggle to match the efficiency.

“They have size. They have guys that can shoot it on the outside. They have a couple little jets out front,” Wells said. “They have all the pieces of the puzzle.”

RILEY (76): Ja’mare Washington 8 5-5 21, Micah Williams 7 0-0 20, Reontre’ Lawrence 6 5-6 17, Joshua Hodge 2 1-2 5, Maurice Scott 0 4-4 4, JaQuan Walker 0 2-2 2, Miquan Patton 2 1-2 7, Thaddeus Phillips 0 0-0 0, TOTALS: 25 18-21 76

LAPORTE (65): Josh Fleming 7 4-4 20, Jacob Jones 6 2-2 19, Blake Arnett 5 2-4 12, Tyler Littlejohn 2 0-0 5, Matt Otwinoski 2 0-0 4, Matt Walls 1 0-0 2, Brian McGuire 1 0-0 3, Logan Dubbs 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 24 8-10 65.

Riley 18 38 53 76
LaPorte 8 30 49 65

3-point goals: LaPorte 9 (Jones 5), Riley 8 (Williams 6). Total fouls: LaPorte 13, Riley 13. Records: Riley 1-0, LaPorte 0-1.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI