‘Improved Archers’ defense’ overcame early deficit in 28 point victory
By: CHRISTIAN HARGAS
Following the Lady Archers’ 46 point victory against the Lady Dragons of Wentworth Military Academy, the STLCC Archers defeated the Wentworth Dragons, 83-55, on Saturday, Feb. 13. The Archers tailed 9-2 to start the game but took the lead following a 12-4 scoring run in the first half. Moving the ball was an early problem that was corrected later in the game, Head Coach Terry Collins said.
“We started off a little sloppy with a lot of one-on-one play instead of passing, cutting and moving,” Collins said. “We were relying too much on having one pass and then a shot. We needed to move the ball and once we started doing that we started getting better shots.”
Sophomore Guard Nate Rigmaiden led the team with 23 points scored and 15 total rebounds against Wentworth. His performance was credited with the help of his teammates, Rigmaiden said.
“It was an okay performance,” Rigmaiden said. “I could not have done it without my team. Their defense and steals opened up my chances to score and hit buckets.”
Experience and improved defense contributed to the win, freshman Forward DaVonte Harrell said.
“We played a decent game,” Harrell said. “On the defensive side it took us a little while to get into it. After half, we came back with a different approach to the game. I say the leadership from our captains is what willed us back to being where we needed to be from the start.”
The Archers led by 34 points with 6:49 left in the second half, the largest spread of the game.
They wanted to control the pace and flow of the game from the start, Collins said.
“When we play well, we are holding the other team somewhere in the sixties [points allowed],” Collins said. “We got away from that during the last two games and we were giving up a lot of points. We feel if we can hold the other team to around 60 we will probably have enough offensive fire power to be in every game.”
The Archers fell behind by seven points with 14:42 left in the first half. They knew they had to make adjustments, Rigmaiden said.
“It was more like we as a team were not hitting our shots like we usually do,” Rigmaiden said. “Coach called a timeout and told us to pick it up on the defensive end. The defense is what got us back in the game, and that opened up some good shots for us.”
Rigmaiden collected seven defensive of his 15 total rebounds, the Archers had 47 total rebounds as a team.
The defensive improvement throughout the game was in part because of the ability to collect offensive and defensive rebounds, Collins said.
“He [Rigmaiden] has been scoring for us but the significant thing was the seven defensive rebounds,” Collins said. “We need that because we are not a big team and we are not tall. I think the other guards who had a lot of rebounds were Jason Johnson who had five and Marcell Lee who also had five. Between those three guards, that is 17 rebounds which is very significant.”
That type of performance can improve any team’s chances of winning, Collins said.
“Because then they [opponent] are only getting one shot,” Collins said. “They are not getting offensive rebounds so that limits the other team’s chances of scoring.”
Before tip-off, the sophomore athletes were honored at midcourt for sophomore night. It was an honor to be a part of the ceremony, Rigmaiden said.
“It was a great honor,” Rigmaiden said. “It was sophomore night and I got to come out with my team and get the win. Today was very good for me and it was great being a part of this event.”
“That was a good feeling, also seeing the people come out and support us,” Harrell said. “That was really the main feeling for me, the support from the people during our last game on our home court. I really liked that.”
It was a good experience that can hopefully be as enjoyable next year, Harrell said.
“It was my first experience as a junior college player,” Harrell said. “To see what happened today, how the girls went out and took a wonderful approach to their game and how we came out and did the same, it was a really good experience for me as a freshman. I look forward to doing it again next year.”
“It was a nice crowd,” Collins said. “You always want to perform well in front of them, that is just human nature. It was also sophomore day so you want the sophomores to go out on a high note. It was a good way to finish the ‘home’ portion of the season. Now, we go on the road and want to keep playing better and take our chances in the tournament.”
The fans were great in showing their support during the Cancer Awareness event, Rigmaiden said.
“I love the fans,” Rigmaiden said. “They get us motivated when we are down. I just love them because they were outstanding for us. We are trying to do this for them and they help us get to where we need to be.”
Harrell excited the crowd with a dunk in the second half. It was a thrilling part of the game, Harrell said.
“Personally, I thought it sealed the game,” Harrell said. “When he [Lee] passed me the ball I had to go in there and finish it for him in good fashion.”
Throughout the course of the game, Collins paced up and down the sidelines motivating his players to keep pushing.
It was to make sure the team did not let up the pressure and lose their lead once they had it, Collins said.
“That is what happened to us during the last game against North Central Missouri,” Collins said. “We had the lead, by 15, and they ended up beating us by three. I just felt like we did not need to worry about the scoreboard but rather to keep playing hard and they did a good job.”
Following the win, the Archers’ amassed a record of 11-14 winning 10 of their last 16 games. With the Region XVI Tournament coming up on Feb. 26-27, they feel like they will be in good shape, Rigmaiden said.
“We still have to get better as a team and keep getting better on defense because we are a really small team,” Rigmaiden said. “Our defense is going to get us to where we need to be. If we can get that down we should be in pretty good shape.”
This kind of win serves as a major confidence booster, Harrell said.
“We are looking at a tough schedule heading into the tournament,” Harrell said. “We are putting this game behind us and moving forward to the final games of the regular season, and then the tournament.”
The Archers finish the regular season on the road against Three Rivers Community College, Mineral Area and MCC-Penn Valley.
The next three games will tell the tale of the season, Collins said.
“The record is better as of late,” Collins said. “These last three games are against highly ranked teams. We have to prove to ourselves that we can beat a highly ranked team.”
The Archers began their 10-6 run after defeating Moberly Area on Jan. 2, Collins said.
“That gains confidence for us to get better,” Collins said. “Now we face those high quality teams again on the road this time. We will find out what kind of team we are.”
The Archers were defeated by Three Rivers, Mineral Area and MCC-Penn Valley to finish the year.