Blue Devils fall to Ridgewater, 82-67

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 11, 2003

The Riverland men's basketball team played well in spurts Saturday afternoon, but it wasn't enough to overcome Ridgewater, as the Devils fell by a count of 82-67 in Austin.

The Blue Devils hit the floor running, jumping out to a 16-7 lead. Their lead surged to 30-18 at the five-minute mark, thanks to the inspired play of Kelly Connaughty at both ends of the floor. Whether it was making jumpers or driving the lane, he did it all, and combined with three three-pointers from Andy Stouvenel, the Blue Devils were able to weather a Ridgewater surge towards the end of the half to maintain a 37-31 lead at the intermission.

As the second half began, it was clear that Riverland couldnt rest on its first half performance if it wanted the win. For the first 10 minutes, the Blue Devils held their own, matching Ridgewater nearly shot for shot to keep it only a one-point deficit at 59-58.

Email newsletter signup

Ridgewater's offense quickly began to pick up momentum, not surprising considering that they have three of the top 12 scorers in the MCCC's South Division, all of whom took turns gashing their host's defense.

Travis Schoumaker came out on fire against a Riverland squad lacking a strong inside presence.

"Today's game just showed what the absence of Jake Bettis means to this team," said Riverland coach David Lillemon.

Jon Hamre then took over for the Warriors, nailing three baskets from long range, including a key hoop at 7:24 that capped a 10-0 run that essentially put the Warriors in control at 67-58. Curt Peterson tried to pick up the slack with his jumpshot, scoring 12 of his 15 points in the second half. Again, without Bettis' inside scoring threat, "they were able to concentrate on guarding us on the perimeter," Lillemon said, "which made it tougher to get good shots off."

In the end, it was Matt Totz, the Warriors' leading scorer, who extinguished Riverland's comeback attempt. Totz notched most of his 18 second-half points in the final 10 minutes. Stouvenel threw down an impressive last-minute alley-oop that breathed some life into the deflated Blue Devil crowd, but it was too little, too late.

"The difference in the two halves was that we started to get down on ourselves and didn't play with much energy or enthusiasm," Lillemon said, "which allowed Ridgewater lots of second chances that they weren't getting before."

"I thought we had a nice balanced attack today."

Five of Riverland's eight players hit in double figures. Peterson led the way with 15 points, while Stouvenel had 14, Connaughty and John Tillo 11, and Adam Kasper finished with 10 on the strength of two second-half treys. The Blue Devils as a team did most of their damage from behind the arc, sinking 11 three-pointers.

Ridgewater was paced by 27 points from Totz and 17 from Schoumaker, but the Warriors also received significant contributions from every member of their nine-man rotation. With the win, Ridgewater improves to 10-10 and 5-3 in league play.

Riverland drops to 6-15 and 1-8, but the Devils won't resume their schedule until next Saturday at Bethany Lutheran College. Lillemon feels this break in the schedule should give the team, especially dinged-up starters Connaughty and Peterson, some much-needed time to recuperate.


RIDGEWATER (82) – Matt Totz 27, Jon Hamre 9, Josh Hadley 6, Justin Berg 7, Travis Schoumaker 17, Eric Carr 4, Jeff Gimse 4, Frank Mendoza 2, John Carrigan 6.

RIVERLAND (67) – Kelly Connaughty 11, Curt Peterson 15, Adam Kasper 10, Andy Stouvenel 14, Jeff Roemhildt 2, Mark Skellenger 4, John Tillo 11, Calvin Morris 0.

Halftime score-Riverland 37, Ridgewater 31.

Free-throws-Ridgewater 9-15, Riverland 2-5

Three-pointers–Ridgewater 7 (Hamre 3, Carrigan 2, Hadley, Berg); Riverland 11 (Stouvenel 4, Petersen 3, Kasper 2, Connaughty, Tillo)