BY MIKE RILEY
The house was rockin’ Saturday night and there was an upset in the making as Rock Creek built an early 10-point first quarter lead over fifth-ranked Borden.
The Braves then remembered what got them to a 13-2 start. Throw in a couple of definitive momentum-changing plays and it was the Braves besting the host Lions, 59-53.
Borden trailed 13-3 in the early going before a 21-6 run gave them their first lead of the game.
After a dunk by Devin Burt ended a scoring draught for Rock Creek (7-11) and kept the Lions on top 19-16, Josh Vollstedt tied the game with a 3-pointer.
Michael Lynch then had a chance to give Borden their first lead of the game, but missed the front end of the bonus.
Shortly thereafter, Rock Creek’s Tanner Gerth was whistled for a foul, then for a technical foul.
That resulted in the Vollstedt going to the line where he hit both shots. After a discussion, it was Vollstedt going to the line for two shots, missing the first before making the second.
Lynch scored on the ensuing inbounds play and suddenly the team that trailed by 10 had a 24-19 lead, which they extended to 32-23 at halftime.
Borden led by as much as 13 in the third quarter, but the Lions were far from finished, pulling to within 47-39 at the end of the period. Gerth then drilled two treys early in the final stanza and it was a 3-point game at 48-45.
Vollstedt hit another big 3 as the Braves extended their lead to 53-46, but their was no die in the Lions, who closed it to 57-53 on a Will Brown trey with 56 seconds left.
The Lions then put Cody Bachman on the line, where he missed the front end of the 1-and-1, but the Braves grabbed an offensive rebound. Garrett Vick made 2-of-2 at the line for the final margin.
“We had them right where we wanted them,” Rock Creek coach Chris Brown said. “And then we let them get the offensive board.”
One stat explains the final score as the Braves out-rebounded the much bigger Lions’ squad, 27-19.
“We got into some foul trouble and that hurt us, but we failed on the boards tonight,” said Rock Creek coach Chris Brown.
“When we started to go inside and rebound,” said winning Braves’ coach Doc Nash. “We played well. When you get the ball inside, then you can go outside. You can’t simulate their size and length in practice.”
Lynch led the Braves with 16 points. Vollstedt came off the bench to add 12 points, while Vick finished with 11,
“Vollstedt did a great job. He hit that big 3 early,” Nash recalled. “And Vick made 9-of-10 free throws. As a team we were 10-of-15. That’s not bad.”
Gerth led Rock Creek with 13 points. Brown had 11 and Burt finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“Of the things we put on the board before the game I felt that play harder than them and rebound and control the glass,” Brown said. “I thought we played harder than they did. We scored enough points to win, but we failed on the boards.”
“They’re length really bothered us tonight,” Nash said. “Hopefully we won’t have to face then again.”
The sectional rivals both resume play on Thursday with Borden hosting Medora and Rock Creek hosting Madison.
“We’ll go back to practice next week hoping to get better on Monday, then even better on Tuesday.” Nash said.
“This was a great atmospohere tonight,” Brown said. “I hate moral victories, but we got better tonight — other than on the glass. You can bet that Monday in practice they won’t see a ball. It will be all about defense and rebounding.”