Ryan Richardson helps Dobson top Highland in boys basketball tournament opener

Ryan Richardson helps Dobson top Highland in boys basketball tournament opener

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Ryan Richardson helps Dobson top Highland in boys basketball tournament opener

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Junior guard Ryan Richardson looked the seniors in the face at halftime Thursday night and told himself that he couldn’t let their Mesa Dobson basketball careers end in the first round.

Richardson made three 3-pointers during a two-minute stretch in the fourth quarter that fueled Dobson’s 63-54 victory that ended Gilbert Highland’s season Thursday night.

Dobson (19-11) , the No. 13 seed in Division I, advances to Saturday night’s round of 16 at No. 4 Mesa.

No. 20 Highland (18-10) led 42-40 entering the final quarter, despite star swingman Jake Toolson not attempting a shot in the third period after scoring 14 first-half points.

After junior guard Kairee Williams swished a short jumper for Dobson to tie it early in the fourth quarter, Richardson took over. After his third 3-pointer, Dobson had a 51-42 lead with 4:15 left.

“I felt I wasn’t doing my part to keep these seniors’ season going,” said Richardson, who finished with 18 points. “My teammates came out of the locker room and said, ‘We’re going to get you going in the second half.’

“I owe it all to my teammates.”

The husky, 6-foot-5 Toolson, one of the state’s more dominating players, didn’t make a field goal in the second half. He sank four free throws in the last two quarters and finished with 18 points.

Toolson brought the ball up most of the time for Highland in the first half.

In the second half, he got down in the block, but was swallowed up in Dobson’s zone as Highland relied on Bryce Farabee’s outside shooting. Farabee led all scorers with 21 points, but Highland started missing 3s in the final quarter and didn’t get back on defense.

Dobson senior star Jaron Hopkins had 19 points, hurting Highland on the glass with second-chance shots.

Coach Rick McConnell, astonished that Toolson was held without a field goal in the second half, said he wanted his players to crowd Toolson in the zone.

“We were just trying to crowd him because he hurts teams all the time,” McConnell said. “He’s really good and hard to guard.”

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Ryan Richardson helps Dobson top Highland in boys basketball tournament opener
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