Tigers subdue Rebels

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com

   The aggression of the Tiger reared its ugly head on Thursday, as the Range Rebels were unsuccessful in hunting down Keenburg in a 52-42 loss.
   With a trapping defense and explosive play on the transition, the Tigers took control of the contest after the first period of play and never looked back.
   "I think the halfcourt trap really frustrated them tonight, and that was a big difference in the game," said Keenburg coach Scott Heaton.
   Range captured the opening bucket of the game with a baseline jumper coming from Dustin Tolley.
   The Tigers grabbed their first lead of the contest when Johnny Glass converted a basket down-low with 3:15 left in the first period.
   Both teams battled back and forth during the first six minutes of action, as a free-throw from Tolley tied the game at 9-9 with 10 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
   "Coach Densford has a tough little ball club and they play hard," said Heaton. "He does a good job with them."
   Keenburg hustled the ball down the floor, and a drive and dish from Cody Marley set up an inside basket by Glass as time expired.
   The Tigers held a slim margin of 11-9 to start the second period, but their intensity on the boards and defense would set the tone of the first half.
   A 12-1 run by the Tigers increased their advantage to 23-10 after a steal and lay-up came from Josh Lowe.
   The Rebels didn't hit a field-goal until 1:25 left in half, with Michael Stone converting down low and Anthony Scalf scoring off the break.
   "We were trying to play too fast at the start and just throwing up shots instead of getting a good look inside," said Range coach Oris Densford.
   Keenburg came back to stretch its advantage back to 13 points, with Josh Moore hitting a lay-up off a steal to give the Tigers a 27-14 lead at halftime.
   The Tigers continued their dominance to start the second half with points off the rebound coming from Matt Rasnick and Lowe.
   "I've been waiting for both Lowe and Rasnick to step it up on the boards and finally tonight they were able to do that," said Heaton.
   A couple of steals from Jordan Lambert and Lowe produced more points for the Tigers on the break, as they saw their biggest lead of the night at 37-18 with under three minutes left in the third.
   Range wasn't about to lay down, though, as it fought back hard and shrank the deficit before the quarter had ended.
   "The first time we played them, they beat us by 20 points," said Densford. "We got ourselves behind, but we came back tough and played hard."
   A lay-up off a steal from Brent Humphrey and two three-point plays from Matthew Oaks cut the margin down to 12 points heading into the final period.
   Range was able to keep the Tigers at distance during the fourth period, but could never quite get the lead trimmed down like they needed.
   The Rebel defense stepped up by making several steals, but some missed lay-ups and free-throws at the other end hampered their chance of a rally.
   "We missed too many free throws and lay-ups tonight, and if we could have hit some of those then we might have been able to win this game," said Densford.
   A rebound and putback off a miss from Stone drew the three-point play with 2:23 left in regulation.
   By trailing 48-38, Range was unable to cut into the deficit in the final two minutes.
   A couple of passes from Moore down court sealed the contest, with Glass and Marley finishing off the break.
   Moore led the Tigers in scoring with 16 points, while Glass added 14 and Rasnick poured in 12.
   Range was led by Tolley and Stone with 10 points apiece, and Humphrey and Oaks both added seven.