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Short-handed Pirates win

Rogers did more with less on Thursday, keeping its season alive despite behind short-handed, with a hard-fought grinder with Capital.

Keep reading for the unedited story that will appear in tomorrow’s paper, combined with the Shadle boys.

 


The state basketball tournament isn’t always about basketball.

That was the case on Thursday when Rogers survived a loser-out game with Capital, 68-59 in the State 3A boys basketball tournament, despite missing a starter and two top reserves.

“We talk about being a complete team,” Rogers coach Tim Wood said. “Those guys we called on stepped up. A couple of kids broke a team rule (earlier in the day) and were disciplined for a game.”

The reserves who did not play in the Pirates’ opening loss combined to play 36 minutes, scored 15 points, grab six rebounds, get three steals and two assists.

“They’re capable players,” Wood said of sophomore Therone Tillett, juniors Derek Foote and Myka Brown and senior Tyler Weeks. “It’s a life lesson, there’s more to life than basketball. Everybody makes poor choices in life. I’m just so happy for the guys that stepped up.”

Seniors Jesse Vaughan (22 points 12 rebounds), Pat McCabe (13 points) and Dillon Franklin (12 points, 4 assists) made sure their season didn’t end.

“We just had to get going,” Franklin said. “We had complete confidence in (the reserves).”

Starter Zach Nelson and reserves Cody Peterson and Deavon Daniels, will get to play this afternoon instead of cheering on teammates to keep their season alive.

“It’s huge,” Wood said. “We’re underdogs. To get to State and get a win, I couldn’t be more pleased, especially playing with as many guys as we did.”

The Pirates led 31-24 at halftime despite 13 turnovers and 5 of 12 free throw shooting because Capital couldn’t shoot (26 percent). The only reason the Cougars (20-8) were in the game was because they made 10 of 13 free throws.

That lead evaporated in 75 seconds because of turnovers by the Pirates (13-14) quickly recovered and built a 10-point lead late in the quarter. They could have put the game away early if they had hit foul shots, miss four of six in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, which allowed the Cougars to stay in the game. But once they started knocking them down the game was over.

The Pirates made just 17 of 34 free throws – while shooting 67 percent from the field – even with a string of eight straight in the final 2 minutes, four by Tillett.

“Dad forced that one me, he made sure I was real good at free throws,” Tillett said, who only played JV during the regular season. “I wasn’t good and he completely changed my shot (in junior high).”

Capital finished 22 of 27 from the line, an accuracy that was surprising considering they shot 32 percent for the game while taking just eight 3’s. It helped they had more opportunities because of 12 offensive rebounds and 21 Rogers turnovers.

“I understand it was a foul fest, pretty ugly game – we made some huge mistakes – but to get a win, heart and 100 percent effort,” Wood said. The players, once they heard, knew they had to step up. They were worried and we came out flat. It took a couple of minutes to settle down.”


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