Blue Devils rally to win home opener

Published 9:59 pm Monday, November 12, 2018

The Riverland Community College men’s basketball team finished the game a lot better than it started it as the Blue Devils beat St. Mary’s University JV 66-57 in their home opener in Riverland Gym Monday.

The Blue Devils (2-0 overall) trailed 9-0 four minutes into the game, but they clawed their way back and found themselves down 51-49 with 6:20 left in contest. That’s when RCC turned up the intensity and put together a 13-0 run over five minutes to put the game away. Montrell Jacobs, a freshman from Milwaukee, hit a top of the key three-pointer to put RCC up for good at 54-51. Jacobs and Deandre Raggs converted breakaway jams to put the game away.

Riverland’s Deandre Anderson lays the ball up against the defense of Brady Stevens of Saint Mary’s University JV in Riverland Gym Monday. Rocky Hulne/

“We just had to wake up and be focused,” said Raggs, who had six points, 13 rebounds and four assists. “We weren’t really focused in the beginning because we were overlooking them. We had to wake up and play hard defense.”

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RCC had five players score nine points or more in the win, but it shot just eight percent on three-pointers in the first half. The Blue Devils improved their shooting by a small margin in the second half, but RCC head coach Derek Hahn said that shooting remains an area of focus.

Riverland’s Nyagoa Obany goes up for a shot against Saint Mary’s University JV in Riverland Monday. Rocky Hulne/

“Shooting is definitely something that we’re putting a big emphasis on. We’ve got to get better at it. We’ve got to make adjustments. Part of it is nerves and will move with that as time progresses,” Hahn said. “They’re closing and winning games, but we kind of expect to do that with where our program sits today. But we’ve got to get better and we’ve got to tighten up some things.”

RCC sophomore DeAndre Smith finished the game with 10 points and nine rebounds. He said the team needs to learn to come out focused.

“We knew what we had to do (down the stretch). We had to come in and bring some energy,” Smith said. “We need to come out with energy and focus for the whole game.”

Austin grad Nyagoa Obany had six points and three rebounds for RCC.

St. Mary’s 31  26    57

RCC 28  38    66

Riverland’s Montrell Jacobs pulls up for a jump shot against St. Mary’s University JV in Riverland Gym Monday. Rocky Hulne/

RCC scoring: Deandre Anderson, 11; Izzy Holmes, Jr., 11; DeAndre Smith, 10; Montrell Jacobs, 9; Hollis Hardwick, 9; Deandre Raggs, 6; Uwana Etukakpan, 4; free throws: 90 percent (9-for-10)

Hayfield grad Drew Olive handles the ball for Saint Mary’s University JV against Riverland’s Uwana Etukakpan in Riverland Gym Monday. Rocky Hulne/