WORTHINGTON Down at the half, Red Rock Central made a strong run to cut the lead to a single possession multiple times in the second half.
But the seventh-seeded Falcons were unable to get any closer, falling to No. 2 seed Fulda in the Section 3A-South tournament on Saturday.
"We played them twice and we knew that, number one, we had to break their pressure, and number two, we had to get enough stops defensively and settle ourselves into a half-court offense," said RRC head coach Brian Walker.
In the first half RRC (11-15 overall) found itself down 12-4 early, but cut the lead to two with a six-point run, making it 12-10 before Fulda (20-7) got the lead to nine at 19-10.
The Raiders went up 27-16 before RRC cut it back to nine going into the half. The Falcons knew breaking the Raider press was going to be key.
"Breaking that half pressure (was important)," Walker said. "Fulda is quick defensively, so when we reversed the ball they were able to quickly trap that guy flashing. We ran into some trouble early, but when we started looking down the floor, we did a much better job staying out of trap situations."
Jeff DeCock 4 11-11 19, Daniel Maras 1 0-2 2, Dylan Bunting 2 2-2 6, Logan Willhite 3 0-1 7, Henry Rogotzke 8 5-7. Totals 18 18-23 55. Three-Pointers 1 (Willhite). Rebounds 19 (Rogotzke 10). Assists 14 (DeCock 3, Bunting 3, Rogotzke 3). Steals 13 (Bunting 3, Willhite 3). Blocks 3 (Rogotzke 3). Turnovers 12.
Mic Holinka 4 2-2 11, Max Dibble 1 2-2 5, Clarke Hein 0 1-2 1, Aaron Tiesler 4 1-5 9, Mathew Appel 9 5-5 26, Keith Gehl 2 3-6 7, Nathan Getting 1 0-0 2, Todd Peterson 3 0-0 9, Andy Oakland 1 2-2 5. Totals 25 16-24 75. Three-Pointers 9 (Appel 3, Peterson 3, Holinka 1, Dibble 1, Oakland 1).
The Falcons found themselves down by as many as 15 early before making a run to cut the lead to three with shots from Jeff DeCock and Henry Rogotzke before a pair of free throws from Dylan Bunting made it a three-point game at 41-38.
"I thought we did a decent job attacking the basket," Walker said. "We did some decent things to put ourselves into position to make tight and make it a good game."
The Falcons were unable to get the game even or take the lead, and Fulda quickly rebuilt is lead.
"Fulda is so dangerous because you leave a couple guys open for some looks and they can really hurt you with the three," Walker said. "It's not that we didn't defend well enough, we just didn't close out quick enough. We were right there hanging around, it was just a tough stretch the last six minutes."
RRC was unable to make another run late in the game, allowing Fulda to sustain the lead for the rest of the game, and finished with a 75-55 win.
"We came down here last year and almost knocked off Ellsworth, so I think we came down here with the same mindset that anything is possible on Super Saturday," Walker said. "We won 11 games this year, one more than last year, one more win in a solid conference.
"We have two of our leading scorers back next year and we have to build from that. We need guys to come back, step in and really build on their game this summer."