By Todd Rohde~CORRESPONDENT
The Richmond-Burton boys’ basketball team knows that the best way to get over a tough loss in the season finale, is to put it behind you by scoring a victory in your next contest.
They were also motivated and well aware of the fact that if they didn’t score a win to begin the postseason tournament, that their season would abruptly come to an end.
So the Rockets came out ready to play and left nothing for the imagination, as they were rewarded in the process for their efforts.
Richmond made it look pretty easy, as they had no troubles getting past Chicago Aspira Charter by a convincing 70-31 margin in the quarterfinals of the IHSA Class 3A Chicago Senn Regional Feb. 25th.
The victory improved the No. 12 seeded Rockets to 13-15 overall for the season, while the defeat ended the season for the No. 21 seeded Pumas. The win also advanced the Rockets onto the regional semifinal game Feb. 26th against No. 5 seeded Chicago Uplift.
Knowing that anything was possible despite the Pumas dismal record coming into the contest, the Rockets wasted no time gaining the upper hand and proving who the better team was.
They took control on both sides of the ball right from the opening tip and never let up the rest of the way until the final buzzer sounded.
Defensively, the Rockets pressured the Pumas causing them to force turnovers on several occasions and limit their looks at the hoop.
Offensively, Richmond got off to a hot start by spreading the ball around and making their shots both inside and out to keep their foes off balanced.
Richmond jumped out to a 17-6 lead through the first eight minutes of play and only continued to feed off of their own momentum and pour it on.
In fact, the Rockets scored more points in the second quarter than the Pumas did in the first three combined as they went on to outscore them by a 24-7 difference during the stretch to pad their lead to 41-13 at intermission.
With the Rockets comfortably ahead, they were able to rest their starters in the second half by giving their bench some quality minutes of play. The reserves picked up exactly where the starters left off, as they continued pad their lead in the third quarter.
Richmond doubled up the Pumas performance 16-8 in the third to officially put the game away. The Rockets did a lot of their damage from behind the arc, as they knocked down 10 three-pointers in the game including junior guard Nick Hogan accounting for five of them.
Hogan led all scorers with 17 points, as Richmond had 11 different players score in the contest including seven of them with five points or more.
Junior forward Nate Hansel dished in nine points, sophomore forward Sam Kaufman accounted for eight and junior guard Grant Miller provided seven more points. Junior guards Matt Vlasak, Nick Pittser and Mike Kassa all finished with five points apiece on the night.