By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
Ringling forced the Beaver Dusters to pass the ball into the post with their perimeter pressure. Beaver was happy to oblige with 45 points combined for Garrett Weber and Jorge Rivera in the post to propel Beaver to a 52-46 win.
“It feels good,” Dusters coach Craig Schlessman said. “We did what we needed to do to win. It was a satisfying win, but it was a win where I think we were looking ahead instead of focusing in on the task at hand. Once we got back on track we took back control.”
Beaver took control early, jumping out to an 11-1 lead, but Ringwood answered by getting to the foul line and cut the lead to just one (11-10) by the end of the first quarter.
Beaver’s biggest concern was foul trouble. The Dusters were called for nine fouls in the first quarter with Andrew Jesko carrying three, and Weber and Rivera sitting on the bench with two fouls.
“Our early foul trouble let them get back in the game after we had a great start,” Schlessman said. “It caused us to have to do some things we weren’t used to doing. They out-hustled us during that stretch. We got over it and got after them.”
During the first four minutes of the second quarter the two teams traded baskets with Beaver still clinging to a one-point lead, 21-20.
But Beaver made a move in the second half of the second quarter, and led 30-21 at half.
Beaver maintained their lead throughout the third quarter, and late into the fourth. Ringling was finally able to cut into the lead in the game’s final two minutes, but Beaver held on for the win.
“We didn’t know much about them,” Schlessman said. “They pressed us the whole game, but we handled it pretty well. They were forcing the ball inside, and we have to great players in there. They doubled our guards trying to force turnovers. If your going to give us the inside we’re going to take it.”
Weber finished the game with a game-high 32 points, and Rivera added 13.
“They were in an extended 2-3 and trying to force our guards to make passes that are not good,” Schlessman said. “But Garrett and Jorge are more athletic than most big men and can break to the ball at a much higher point than most. And if they get the ball five feet from the basket they’re tough to stop.”
With the win, Beaver (16-10) advances to a Saturday matchup with Mooreland with a trip to the Area tournament in Weatherford on the line.