Rich Hill vs. Montrose
On Friday night the Rich Hill Tigers met the Montrose Blue Jays for the Championship of the District 6 Boys Championship. The Tigers came into the game after defeating the Ballard Bulldogs and the Hume Hornets in order to play on this night. Montrose had earned their right to be here by winning games against the Miami Eagles and the Drexel Bulldogs. Rich Hill came into this game with a record of 13-14, while Montrose came in with a record of 18-9. The last time these two teams had met was last year in a unique game played at Rich Hill after both of them had been eliminated in district play the previous week. Due to games being lost in the regular season they agree to play so Rich Hill might have their senior night. The Tigers won that contest.
The game started with the atmosphere being electric for both teams with the stands filled by fans there to cheer their team on to victory. The opening tip-off went to the Blue Jays and from there on it would be a fight to the finish. Early nerves wore off rather quickly as both teams got into their offenses and worked hard to play good defense. In the first quarter the Tiger’s offense was quite efficient, shooting over fifty percent from the floor and the defense held up their part and after one the Tigers found themselves leading Montrose 18-11. One great concern that followed into the next quarter was a number of Tigers who were finding themselves in foul trouble. Throughout the first half the Rich Hill bench played a large role in keeping the Tigers in the game. Despite the Tigers holding a seven point lead it felt the Blue Jays were always nipping at their heels and both offenses kicked it into high gear for the quarter and at half-time Rich Hill led Montrose 39-30. Both teams took their time before returning to the floor for the second half, trying to make adjustments to help put their teams in the best possible position for victory. The second half Montrose made many charges at the Tigers trying to close the gap on the scoreboard but they were repelled for the most part in the third quarter. After three, the Blue Jays had gained ground only slightly with the Tigers holding a 50-43 lead. The final frame saw the Tigers in deep foul trouble with several players having three or more a piece. It became obvious early in the quarter, Montrose was going to attack the rim in order see if they could foul out their opponents but the Tigers held firm. As the time on the clock started to tick down the scoring gap between the two teams started closing and the tension started really filling the Dome. The Tigers had held the lead for almost ninety-five percent of the game but with under three minutes Montrose took a one-point lead on a long trey. As the intensity grew for both teams during the next couple of minutes the Tigers found themselves down by as much as three points but never buckled. A combination of steady defense and determined offense the Tigers were able to get back to even with about a minute left. With about ten seconds left Montrose got to the free throw line and hit the front end of a double bonus. The second shot missed its mark and the Tigers inbounded the ball racing down the court to the right side with Rich Hill seeing one of their players breaking loose on the left side of the lane hit them with a pass to score the tying bucket. Montrose immediately called a timeout to set their last offensive play of regulation. During this timeout the officials added about three seconds back on to the clock. As the officials handed the ball to the Montrose, the crowd noise became deafening for the Dome. The Tigers applied pressure to the inbounding passer and with time running out, what looked like a good pass hit the Montrose player just to be suddenly stolen by a Tiger. As the Tiger was in the air he flipped the ball back to his teammate who caught the ball just outside the arc, squared the shot up and hit nothing but the bottom of the net for the winning basket as time ran out. The Rich Hill team and their fans erupted into a loud victory roar. This game was a highly competitive game that both teams should be proud of.
This win was the first district title for the Tigers since the 2015-2015 team. This win brought the Tigers record to 14-14 for the season. This basketball district title was the first for anyone on this team and the first for Coach Moles. The Tigers will travel to Nevada on Tuesday night at 7:45 at the Nevada High School to meet the Golden City Eagles in the sectional round of the 1A play-offs.
Scoring for the Tigers on this night was, Clifton Bridgewater 23, Sage Bolser 18, Daylen Walton 10, Brady Querry 6, Magal Chol 5, and Lucas Harwood 3. This was truly a team effort with shooting over 50% from the floor for the game and 6/11 from the charity stripe. Rebounding is as follows, Sage Bolser 7,Bryce Yohe and Magal Chol 5 each, Brady Querry and Clifton Bridgewater 4 each, Daylen Walton 3 and Lucas Harwood 1