Tigers open second round leaping Leps
Holding off a pesky LaGrange team, the Tigers collected a key road win, 53-50, Tuesday night to kick off the second round of District 23-3A action.
The Tigers are 18- 8 on the season and 5-1 in district, trailing Navasota (17-9, 6-0) by one game.
A streaking Rockdale has won 11 of its last 12 and 14 of 16.
Wendell Mitchell pulled the trigger on 18 points, including three shots from behind the three-point arc.
Cody Skubal complemented Mitchell with 14 points and 10 rebounds, his 13th double-double of the season.
The Tigers—who ransacked LaGrange 66 - 36 in the f irst round— had to overcome the effort of Leopard sophomore Wes Scott, who pumped in 27 points.
The Tigers led 38-34 at intermission, but were outscored 16-15 in the second half by LaGrange (12-12, 2-4) after misfiring on 11 free throws.
The Tigers collected their 17th victory of the season Friday night at home, holding off Smithville 58-45.
In this season of smashing the past, the win total is the most by a Rockdale squad since 1997 (25).
“This was the next step,” Loewe said. “We are looking for a district championship.
“It was a great team effort tonight. The kids have really meshed together.”
While taking command of the game from the outset, Smithville (14-9, 3-2) pulled to within five twice late in the fourth period after Rockdale had constructed a 15-point advantage in the second half.
Dean connected on six-of-eight shots—including 3- of-4 accuracy from behind the three-point arc—to spark the Tigers with 16 points.
Skubal turned in his 12th double double of the year with 14 points and 16 boards, which ties a career high.
The 6-foot-3 senior also contributed five assists and a pair of steals.
Mitchell, still shaking off the effects of a sore ring finger on his shooting hand, followed with 12 points on 3-of-15 shooting.
Rockdale had one of its best shooting nights from behind the arc, hitting seven-of-15, including the three from Dean and two apiece from Mitchell and Zach Garza.
Rockdale took advantage of Smithville’s horrendous shooting in the first half (9-of-32 for 28 percent) and built a 33-22 lead at intermission, trailing just once 13-12.
Rockdale outscored Smithville 21-11 in the second quarter as Dean produced 12 of his gamehigh effort in the period, including a pair of treys.
After a James David layup on a pass from Skubal opened up the third quarter, the Tigers ventured behind the arc to build their largest lead of the evening as Mitchell and Garza pulled the trigger from the same spot in the left corner to make it 41-26 with 3 minutes, 59 seconds left in the period.
Smithville began to chip away at the lead, but Mitchell’s 28-foot bank shot at the buzzer provided Rockdale with a 45-36 lead heading into the final stanza.
Logan Kubicek’s bomb from the left corner pulled Smithvillewithin 48-43 with 3:39 remaining to be played, but Rockdale held the Tigers without a single point until the buzzer sounded, embarking on a 10-0 run to close out the game.
Rockdale had gone almost four minutes without a basket before Kubicek’s three, but Dean’s trey from the right side reignited the Tigers.
Smithville point guard Oscar Kennebrew—last year’s district MVP—led the Tigers with 13 points before fouling out.
|Rebounds:||Skubal 9.7,||David 5.5|
|Assists:||Mitchell 2.7,||Skubal 2.5|
|FT%: Mitchell||83, Dean||63|