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Rife shoots Rockets past Indians

December 12, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Since losing starting shooting guard Brandon Bryan in the preseason, the James Buchanan boys basketball team has had someone either step up and shoulder the load or simply play a role in its first three wins.

JB had a little of both Monday night as Shane Rife scored a game-high 27 points, while Dion Lehman and Sawyer Hollenshead came up big in the fourth quarter to help the Rockets to a 48-47 victory over Waynesboro in the Mid-Penn Capital opener for both teams.

"With (Bryan) out, me, Dion, (Josh) McCauley and everyone else has had to step up," Rife said. "I knew I was going to have to improve my game when he got hurt."

Rife has averaged 26.5 points in four wins for the Rockets (4-1, 1-0).

"(Rife) had a good game but I think it was a combo of everyone playing well," said Rockets coach Larry Strawoet. "Little No. 1 (Hollenshead) did some things when we needed them and Dion Lehman came up with a nice play in the middle of the floor.

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"And we got a lift from Macke (Hall) and Kris Potter off the bench. They came in and added some physicalness that got everyone else going."

McCauley played a role in JB's defensive efforts against Waynesboro's 6-foot-4 forwards Kevin Kline and Terrell Rickard, helping hold Kline scoreless in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Hollenshead and Lehman each scored five points in the final period as the Rockets erased a seven-point deficit.

Lehman had 11 points. Hollenshead added nine.

"If we could have got the lead to nine, (JB) might have panicked," said Waynesboro coach Tom Hoffman. "But instead of going from seven to nine, it went from seven to four."

JB went on a 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter to take its first lead since the first quarter at 42-41. The Rockets upped the lead to as many as five points down the stretch, but Waynesboro (3-2, 0-1) got two baskets from Rickard to close the gap to 48-47 with 6 seconds left.

The Rockets missed the front-end of two 1-and-1s and Kline pulled down both rebounds to give Waynesboro two outside chances at regaining the lead. The Indians failed to inbound the ball on the first, then Kline's long shot from the opposite foul line at the buzzer fell about five feet short to give JB the win.

JB outscored the Indians 16-8 in the fourth quarter.

"We went from a passive situation to an aggressive one," Strawoet said. "We looked to double-down more on the inside and to contain (Kline)."

Kline was more of a presence in the paint in the first half with nine points and the Indians opened the second quarter with a 10-point run. They held the Rockets scoreless for the first four minutes of the period.

JB chipped away at the lead in the third quarter and pulled to within one, but the Indians scored three unanswered baskets to take a 39-32 lead into the fourth.

"The third quarter seemed like a championship game," Hoffman said. "It was blow-for-blow for a while, but it felt like we should have had more of a lead than we did."

Rickard scored all eight Indians points in the fourth quarter and finished with a team-high 20. Kline finished with 13 points and six rebounds.

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