With 11 free throws and a team-high 28 points Saturday morning, March 2, Randy McClure led Salmon River to a 65-63 win over Rockland as both sides played brilliantly in their clash over the 1AD2 consolation trophy.

“That was an awesome game,” SRHS head coach Levi Tucker told the Free Press afterward. “We shot super good free throws in the beginning. We survived foul trouble. They survived foul trouble. We shot good free throws, and we just never gave up.”

Of McClure’s big day, Tucker said, “Randy is a stud. He’s pretty much carried us all year. He leads us in three or four of the major stats. When we need a bucket, when we need a big shot, Randy’s the guy.”

Rockland took an early lead, and McClure also asserted himself early, with a hoop off an inbounds play lifting SRHS within four. So did Jimmy Tucker (10 points), who followed up with a three-pointer drawing SRHS within 8-7. Then McClure notched two free throw – he shot eight-for-eight at the line during the first half – for a 9-8 Salmon River lead.

Rockland countered with a three-pointer by Kaden Woodworth, and the back-and-forth scoring only accelerated. Rockland’s Caleb Norwood (30 points) more-than-matched McClure’s output, but SRHS got Norwood into foul trouble during the second quarter and carried a 37-31 lead into halftime. During the third quarter, Norwood lifted Rockland into a 43-all tie, and to within two at 49-47 on the first score of the fourth period.

reecejones.jpg

Reece Jones notched eight points on four-for-five shooting and filled out the stats sheet with five rebounds, a blocked shot, a steal and four fouls while defending the likes of Rockland’s Caleb Norwood (pictured, 14).

Salmon River answered with McClure scoring twice and Ethan Shepherd (10 points) adding points on a jumper, then a free throw good for a 56-50 SRHS advantage with 4:36 left in the game.

Rockland surged late, with Norwood scoring a tough jumper and drawing a foul from McClure for a three-point play with 2:44 remaining. Rockland cut it to two, 61-59, on a fast break basket by Braden Permann (12 points), with about a minute left in the game. Shepherd drew Permann’s fifth foul and canned two foul shots with about 45 seconds left to make it a four-point game, but with seven seconds left, Rockland cut it to one.

McClure hit a free throw with four seconds remaining, and Rockland’s last, desperate attempt did not connect.

With the win, Salmon River placed fourth as one of three teams that posted 2-1 records during the three-day tournament held at Caldwell High. Lighthouse Christian beat Garden Valley 83-74 to claim the 1AD2 title, and Genesis Prep – the only team that beat SRHS during the tournament – took third with a 62-39 win over Logos on Saturday.

Sports Editor

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