On a team filled with household names like Isaac Johnson, Jared Ridder, Niekie Thomas-Fontleroy, and Cameron Davis, it was the other guys who were the story on Tuesday night in Kickapoo’s 68-55 win over Glendale at Drury’s O’Reilly Family Event Center.
Hayden Schmitz came off the bench and buried two early 3s, and Derrick Roberson’s steal and layup narrowly beat the first-quarter horn—all part of an 11-2 Chiefs’ rally that ended the period.
In the third, Isaac Blakeslee canned back-to-back 3s at the end of the quarter.
Often lost on a team full of stars, Kickapoo’s role players came ready to play.
“We’ve got a lot of talent that comes off the bench,” Kickapoo coach Dick Rippee said. “We got contributions from a lot of guys, and that’s what it takes to get good team wins.”
Ridder had 22 points and nine rebounds for Kickapoo. Monty Johal led Glendale with 24 points, including 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Just like it did against Nixa, when the Chiefs buried nine first-half 3-pointers, Kickapoo (20-2, 6-0 Ozark Conference) caught fire from deep again on Tuesday. Kickapoo made 7-of-14 first-half 3s and led Glendale 35-19 by halftime.
“Give them credit,” Glendale coach Brian McTague said. “They just made more plays than we did. We had the pace of the game the way we wanted it. They made seven 3s in the first half and got us in a hole a little bit.”
Kickapoo’s height also bothered Glendale (12-8, 4-1 OC). Ridder swatted four shots alone as the Falcons struggled to finish at the rim.
“We had a lot of layups go in-and-out,” McTague said. “Their size bothered us a little bit. We got to the rim four or five times and thought we had a layup, and they bring someone from the help-side and put it in the second row.”
The Chiefs’ lead ballooned to 23 points midway through the fourth (58-35) before Glendale dug its heels and charged back. A 10-0 run brought the Falcons back in the game with 3:20 remaining, but it turned out to be too little, too late. Kickapoo’s stars—Thomas-Fontleroy, Johnson, and Ridder—put on a mini 6-0 run that put Glendale away for good.
“We kind of got away from playing basketball there in the fourth quarter,” Rippee said.
Glendale—which was held to 27 points in the first three quarters—splurged for 28 points in the fourth.
“I thought we guarded awfully well the first three quarters,” Rippee said. “I thought we made them really work for their stuff and, for the most part, were giving them one shot and out.”
Kickapoo outrebounded Glendale 32-25.
Glendale 6 13 8 28 55
Kickapoo 17 18 14 19 68
Glendale: Helm 4, Johal 24, Baker 8, Walton 6, Call 4, Freeman 3, Sachs 2, Flattery 4
Kickapoo: Thomas-Fontleroy 8, Roberson 3, Vokolek 3, Johnson 9, Davis 9, Blakeslee 8, Schmitz 6, Ridder 22