Tigers put a halt to losing skid
When teams come up with a designer defense to stop Rockdale’s two scoring threats, William McQuitter and Lance Loewe, it’s up to a third party to take advantage of the mismatch for the Tigers to be successful.
Tyler Wr ight did just that Friday night, heating up for a career-high 23 points and also gobbling up 10 rebounds in the Tigers’ 70-42 much-needed victory over Caldwell in District 24-3A action.
The Tigers—who had dropped four straight and seven of their last eight—improved to 13-9 on the season which eclipses last season’s 12 wins and hands them their first league win in the young season.
A non-district loss to Liberty Hill Tuesday night left the Tigers at 13-10.
Rockdale dropped out of the top 25 rankings after the two opening district losses, where it had been listed at No. 18.
Caldwell sags to 2-14 and 0-2.
“They started out running a triangle and two defense against us where they match up man on Will and Lance and play zone on the other two,” said Rockdale Coach Dusty Loewe. “We have seen this a couple of times this year so we run something (short corner offense) for Justin or Tyler to get easy buckets with. It was probably our worst defensive effort of the year, but it is a road district win.”
The 6-foot-3 Wright connected on half his shots from the field (6-of-12) and also sank 9-of-12 free throws to add to his career high.
McQuitter was still able to break free for 25 points (9-of-10 free throws) to lead the Tigers, while Loewe chipped in 10 (two treys), including seven steals.
Rockdale held a commanding lead at halftime, 35-24, and continued to pour it on in the final two periods with 35 more points and allowing just 18 points in the second half.
The Tigers are facing a pair of crucial road games on their schedule against their fiercest rivals when they travel to Taylor on Friday and then to Cameron on Tuesday.
Then, after hosting Madisonville on Jan. 22, Rockdale hits the road again to tip off the second round of district play at Bryan Rudder.
A s if the Tigers didn’t get enough playing against ranked teams in their own district (Navasota, Madisonville, Bryan Rudder), they reached outside the league to hook up with former district mate Liberty Hill during an open district date Tuesday night.
Despite playing one of their most inspired games of the season, the Tigers fell to Liberty Hill 61-58 at Tiger Gymnasium.
The 22-3 Panthers were coming off a 91-37 district victory over Wimberley and are ranked No. 9 in Class 3A
Liberty Hill—a basketball powerhouse in the 1980s and 90s and a mainstay at the state tournament—has returned to its roundball roots.
The Panthers used nine threepointers to get past the Tigers, including five in the first quarter.
Trailing 16-15 to open the second period, McQuitter ripped off eight straight points to push Rockdale out front 23-19, its largest lead of the evening.
However, an 11-3 run snagged the lead back for Liberty Hill for good.
In what became a shootout, McQuitter ended with 29 points to Michael Farace’s 26 for the Panthers.
Farace came in averaging 23 points a game and bombed in five treys Tuesday night, including four in the first quarter.
“I thought we played well,” said Loewe. “We just couldn’t get over the top. If we continue to play like this, we’re going to be in good shape. I look at this as a very good practice. We just need to take care of our business.”