The Smith-Cotton boys basketball team saw Nevada’s Silas Smith erupt for 31 points in Nevada’s 69-49 win on Tuesday at Smith-Cotton.
Five days after scoring his 1,000th career point, Smith got off to a slow start, missing his first two shots from the field, then knocked down a 3-pointer to extend Nevada’s lead to 12-2. He had 12 points by halftime and added eight in the third and 11 in the fourth.
“They’re such a good shooting team that you have to be really deliberate,” said Smith-Cotton coach Ray Hughes. “Somebody has to be able to deny him the ball and he was able to get it anyway.”
Smith wasn’t the only one scoring. Lane Ketterman added 11 and Jamin Brandt scored 10.
“That’s the complement they’ve got,” Hughes said.
While Nevada shot more than 50 percent from the field in the first half (12 of 23), Smith-Cotton struggled, hitting 7 of 20.
Hot shooting from Nevada helped the visitors jump out to a 14-2 lead, but after that Smith-Cotton recovered and played Nevada evenly until early in the fourth.
Nevada pushed the lead to 56-35 on a 3-pointer by Nathan Colopy and a basket in the paint by Smith, but Smith-Cotton made a late run. Chance Johnson hit a pair of free throws then got a steal and a layup. Spencer Ruckman followed that with a 3-pointer, and after another Nevada turnover, Johnson hit a jumper to make it 56-44 midway through the fourth.
Smith-Cotton had a chance to cut the lead to single digits but a 3-pointer was off the mark and Nevada extended the lead back to 20 by going 13 for 16 from the free throw line in the final minutes.
“We just couldn’t get the stop when we needed the stop,” Hughes said. “We had it to 12 and an opportunity to go to 10, drove to the basket and weren’t able to convert.”
Johnson had 19 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter. Dalton Christian and Dalton Zaremba each scored eight. Christian — playing in his final home game at Smith-Cotton — led the team with five rebounds.
Smith-Cotton turned the ball over four times in the first few minutes of the first quarter, allowing Nevada to build a 12-point lead, but turned the ball over just twice the rest of the game.
“I thought we were more disciplined in the halfcourt than we’ve been all year,” Hughes said.
Several times Smith-Cotton remain patient in its halfcourt offense, working the ball around before finding Zach Wolf alone under the basket or Christian cutting into the lane.
“We knew we had to be patient,” Hughes said. “They’re a switching team. They switch almost everything all the time. We were practicing (the idea that) if you’re patient they’ll come. They might not be there the first time or the second time. You’re going to get Zach on a 5-8 guy or Dalton on a 5-8 guy. Offensively, we really executed the game plan.”
Nevada hit 7 of 13 from 3-point range, including an Easton Mitchell shot to open the second quarter making it 22-10 Nevada. They increased the lead to 27-10 before Ruckman hit a 3-pointer. The teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter with Nevada going into halftime with a 37-22 lead.
In the third quarter, Nevada extended the lead to 18 before Zaremba hit a 3-pointer and a layup on back-to-back possessions to make it 44-30. Another Zaremba layup cut the lead to 12, but Mitchell answered with a 3-pointer and Nevada went into the fourth with a 51-35 lead.
“We’ve got to get tougher and we’ve got to get those extra stops,” Hughes said.
Smith-Cotton (7-16) will close the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday at Warrensburg.
Smith-Cotton at Warrensburg
7 p.m. Friday
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