photo by VONDA NORWOOD
Van Buren junior Jason Harms (1) goes for the basket against Rogers at Clair Bates Arena on Friday night.
Even with 6-foot-9 center Mitchell Smith missing much of the first half Friday with foul trouble, Van Buren relied on its defense for a 48-32 win against Rogers.
The Pointers (14-2, 4-1 7A/6A-West) limited Rogers (6-10, 0-5) to just 13 first-half points, then built a 20-point second-half lead to get the victory.
“That is three games in a row we have held teams under 40 points. We are getting better defensively,” Van Buren coach Randy Loyd said. “Offensively, we were efficient enough to get the ball in the basket.”
Smith, though, did give the fans a show in the second half with three dunks, including slams on consecutive possessions on lobs from guard Ryan Pearson for a 40-22 lead with 4:23 left in the game.
“What I am so proud of is our unselfishness,” Loyd said. “Our chemistry is good and that is why I think we are playing so well.
Rogers coach Wayne Herren said his team never took the initiative on offense when Smith left the game late in the first quarter. Rogers trailed 12-4, but saw Van Buren open the lead to 22-13 at halftime.
“Anytime you get him in foul trouble, you have to attack the basket and we did not do a good job of it,” Herren said. “Give Van Buren credit because their defense was solid. I thought we played well on defense tonight. They shoot the 3-pointer so well and I thought we defended that.
“Offensively, we didn’t get it done tonight.”
Loyd also credited the play of reserve post Andrew Martin and guard Brandon Chambers who came off the bench and played solid minutes when Smith and others were in foul trouble.
“Sometime our bench played good minutes and sometimes they don’t get many, but when they are in the game, they do a super job,” Loyd said.
Smith, who had a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds, scored 11 in the second half to fuel the Pointers’ blowout. Jason Harms added 10 for Van Buren.
Hunter Hill paced Rogers with 16 points while Edgar Martinez came off the bench to score 10.
Rogers 42, Van Buren 29 (Women’s)
For the first time this season, the Lady Mounties have won two games in a row.
The Lady Mounties (6-10, 3-2) allowed just seven points in the second and third quarter combined as they opened a commanding 34-19 lead on Van Buren.
The Lady Pointers (5-11, 0-5) led 12-11 after one quarter after a three-point play by Danae Goodwin. Rogers, though, stiffened on defense and allowed just one field goal in the second quarter to take a 21-14 halftime lead.
Brooke Sagely scored 12 to lead Rogers while Libby Ganoung added 10.
Goodwin led Van Buren with nine points.