After soaring past Sioux Falls Christian earlier in the week, the O’Gorman boys basketball team ran into a cold spell Friday against Rapid City Stevens.
Luckily for the third-ranked Knights, they had plenty to offer on the defensive end. O’Gorman limited the Raiders to single-digit scoring in each quarter en route to a 41-27 victory.
When O’Gorman needed to score, Braxton Elliot was there to shoulder the load. Elliot mixed in scoring from beyond the arc — where he went 3-for-6 — with drawing contact inside, finishing with 21 points and going 8-for-8 from the foul line. Elliot also hauled in nine rebounds.
“Braxton did some really good things tonight. Having the ball in his hands, he can control some things,” O’Gorman coach Derek Robey said of his senior guard.
While Elliot was able to find openings, the rest of the Knights struggled to get going offensively.
“We have to continue to get some other guys to step up and be some of our threats – that’s the advantage of having 10 guys in the rotation,” Robey said. “But tonight we were just out of rhythm, out of sync.”
Both teams struggled shooting the ball from the opening tip, but it was physical style — rather than sloppiness — that seemed to dictate the flow of the game. To that end, the Knights were successful. O’Gorman outrebounded the Raiders 37-28, took advantage of second- and third-chance opportunities, and held Stevens’ bigs largely in check.
Sam McCloud, one of Rapid City’s two 6-foot-6 inside, took a beating on his way to a team-high 12 points. Wyatt Osthus being the other, Stevens’ other big, was held to just two points. McCloud in particular was involved in some scrappy plays, more than a few times crashing hard to the floor.
The physical style of play may have hindered the Raiders, according to their coach Ron Riherd.
“We have a real serious problem when we come back east — the physicality of the game is way beyond what we’re used to,” Riherd said. “I thought the officials should have done a better job. That said, you have to figure out how to play that way. And O’Gorman is a really good team.”
Riherd’s Raiders game were outmuscled and would get no closer than 28-21 at the end of the third quarter, despite a strong defensive effort throughout. In the fourth, O’Gorman pulled away — leaning on a 16-for-16 effort from the foul line.
Jack Peery added six points and 10 rebounds — including five offensive — while Ben Lauer had six rebounds. O’Gorman shot just 11-for-43 from the field.
O’Gorman senior Davis Cowan saw his first action in a week since rolling his ankle. Cowan, who led the team in scoring before his injury, had two points but more importantly got some quality minutes.