After giving up an eight-point Belle Fourche run to close out the first half and trailing by six at halftime, Rapid City Christian need a quick pick-me-up to open the second half.
Junior Jack Roisum provided that, and a bit more, knocking down four 3-pointers in the first three minutes, and six in the second half, as the Comets rallied to knock off the Broncs 78-70 in Region 8 boys’ basketball on Tuesday night at Hart Ranch.
“My team just found me in the corner, and I was able to knock some shots down,” said Roisum, who scored 20 of his team-high 24 points in the second half. “Tonight, I felt pretty good and figured I would keep shooting if they got me the looks, and they did. We have a really balanced team with a lot of guys who can step-up, and fortunately, I was able to do it tonight.”
The first half was very much a back-and-forth affair as Belle Fourche jumped out to a nine-point lead, 22-13, in the first six minutes courtesy of some hot shooting from beyond the arc of their own as senior point-guard Tate Hostetter ripped the cords with four first quarter treys.
“Tate was really hot in that first half and I think that stretched them out and opened up some things inside for Kelby (Olson), and he got his rhythm going for us.” Belle Fourche coach Clay Pottorff said.
Though Roissum had only four points in the first half, they came at a critical juncture as two free throws and a steal conversion coupled with an eight-point run by Comet senior point guard Levi Vanden Bos off steals drew Rapid City Christian even at 26-all
“It was a rough start for us,” Vanden Bos said. “I thought we came out a little slow and I just tried to add a little spark to our team. And I trusted my teammates to have my back if I went for a steal, and sometimes I got them and sometimes they had my back.”
After Christian grabbed a one-point lead, 35-34, courtesy of a Vanden Bos put-back, a 3-pointer by Bronc Chandler Kerr, a lay-up on the low post by Olson, and another trey by Hostetter closed out the first half with Belle Fourche up 42-35.
“The one-three-one zone they played in the first half gave us some trouble because of their length and their athleticism,” Rapid City Christian coach Kyle Courtney said. “And we didn’t make a lot of great decisions in that first half."
Fortunately for the Comets, Roisum's fireworks early in the third period helped to offset some of the first half mistakes.
“Probably without Jack Roisum’s shooting, we don’t win that game tonight,” Courtney said. “He did a nice job of getting into the corner like we wanted him to against their zone. We run a little offense like that to try to get the ball into the corner and particularly when you have a shooter like Jack. He was ready to shoot the ball and came up big for us.”
Pottorff agreed with that assessment.
“They did a really good job of attacking our zone and finding those slower close-out opportunities for threes,” Pottorff said. “They made the right adjustments and he got hot and the hoop got big for him, and when you get a shooter like that in rhythm you saw what could happen. And later, they also did a good job of screening our post guys and getting some touches there as well.”
Fittingly, the Comets third-quarter comeback came off a Vanden Bos steal put Rapid City Christian up by one, 51-50, and a 58-57 lead through three quarters.
Belle Fourche drew even at 62-all early in the fourth frame, though a bucket by Vanden Bos and Sam Schlabach and a couple of free throws by Zane Schlabach stretched the margin to 69-62. With the Broncs forced to foul, four consecutive free throws by Sam Schlabach closed out the scoring.
“Levi (Vanden Bos) has the ability to do that for you, make game changing plays, and those steals were huge for us. And he hit some shots at crucial times to keep us in the game, too,” Courtney said. “We did a poor job on the boards tonight overall, but down the stretch, particularly Sam Schlabach and Zane Schlabach really stepped up the defense inside and got some big rebounds for us down the stretch.”
In addition to Roisum’s 24 points, the Comets had four other players in double figures. Vanden Bos and Sam Schlabach each had 14 points and Zane Schlabach chipped in with 11 counters.
Olson led the Bronc attack with a game-high 29 points, often coming off dribble drives.
“I like to drive to the basket because I’m not a really good shooter,” Olson said. “And when I do that it kind of opens up some space for my jump shot and I can knock those down.”
Hostetter was the only other Bronc in double figures with 20 points.
Rapid City Christian (12-2) continues a busy week of basketball traveling to Faith on Thursday (5 p.m.) and hosting Alliance, Nebraska, on Friday (7:30 p.m.). Belle Fourche (8-9) closes out the week with a trip to Custer on Friday (7:30 p.m.).