Devils outmanned by Ridgewater

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 16, 2003

Riverland's roster of seven was seriously outmanned on Wednesday's road trip to Ridgewater, and the final score reflected it.

Ridgewater broke open a nine-point halftime lead and finished it with a 90-64 MCCC South Division victory over the visiting Blue Devils.

Injuries continue to hamper the Blue Devils (5-10, 0-3), who on Tuesday lost freshman forward Jeff Roemhildt with an ankle sprain. Riverland is already missing starting center Jake Bettis -- the team's leading scorer and rebounder who suffered an undisclosed knee injury in the team's first game back from the holiday break. Riverland is 0-4 this season without Bettis in the lineup.

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"We just didn't have an inside presence," said Riverland coach David Lillemon. "They were putting a lot of pressure on the perimeter and we didn't shoot particularly well.

"We never really got in the flow."

The Blue Devils hit nearly as many three-point baskets as two-pointers. Riverland netted 10 long-range jumpers and had just 13 field goals from inside the arc.

Missing its interior presence also prevented the Devils from feeding from its strength -- free-throw shooting. Riverland was 8-11 from the charity stripe but had trouble creating shots going at the basket. The Devils lead the division with 79 percent free-throw shooting.

The team's defense also suffered because of the void in the middle. Ridgewater's 6-3, 230-pound forward Travis Schoumaker had 16 of his game-high 21 points in the first half, and swingman Matt Totz added 11 of his 19 before the break.

By the time Riverland got those two stopped, Ridgewater (6-8, 1-1) was on the move. The Warriors scored 42 points in the second half while forcing the Blue Devils' short bench to defend.

"We played with seven guys, and that's seriously tough to do," Lillemon said. "From the gate you could tell their gameplan. They ran, and obviously we were exhausted."

Riverland got to within seven points with 13 minutes to play but a series of three consecutive turnovers helped Ridgewater back to a double-digit lead.

The Warriors played its full roster of 11 in the South Division victory.

"We just tried too hard," Lillemon said. "We tried to do some things we aren't capable of and we just turned it over too much.

"I really think it was our poorest game of the year."

The Blue Devils were led by 19 points from Andy Stouvenel, who hit four three-pointers. Stouvenel is the team's active leader at 13 points and seven rebounds per game.

Curt Peterson also nailed four trifectas en route to 12 points, and Kelly Connaughty drained two threes for 13 points. Peterson jammed a thumb but is probably for next week's game, as is Roemhildt.

Riverland returns home next Wednesday for a conference clash with Bethany Lutheran at 8 p.m. The Vikings (7-8) boast two of the better guards in the league with Alfonso Mayfield (13.5 pgg) and Maurice Lewers (14.4 ppg).


RIDGEWATER (90) -- Eric Carr 10, Frank Mendoza 2, John Carrigan 2, Matt Totz 19, Jon Hamre 8, Josh Hadley 12, Justin Berg 4, Jeff Gimse 7, Travis Schoumaker 21, Justin Boike 5.

RIVERLAND (64) -- Mark Skellenger 3, Curt Peterson 12, Andy Stouvenel 19, Kelly Connaughty 13, John Tillo 8, Calvin Morris 4, Adam Kasper 5.