Basketball: Ram press pounds Eagles

Andrew Wardlow photo
Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 11:26 PM.

SPRINGFIELD — The beauty of Rhondie Ross’ new-and-improved full-court press is that it doesn’t need to force a turnover to be incredibly effective.

Rutherford’s pressure took Niceville out of its game early, and the Rams cruised to a 70-36 blowout in a non-league boys basketball game at The Ram House on Tuesday night.

The Rams (3-0) scored the game’s first six points and never trailed. They led by a whopping 46-point margin at the end of the third quarter.

“We played pretty good in the tip-off (classic), but we needed to play with more energy and better defense,” said Rutherford guard Kiki Williamson, who scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half. “When we press, the main objective is to speed up the game and make them take quick shots. Then we push it right back at them.”

The Rams came out roaring in the first quarter, and they held Niceville without a field goal for the game’s first five minutes while building a 10-4 lead. Rutherford scored the next 10 points during a run spanning the first and second quarters to jump ahead 20-4, and the Eagles had too little firepower to claw back into contention.

Another 7-0 spurt pushed Rutherford ahead 37-12 in the second quarter, and the Rams settled into a 39-15 lead at halftime.

Rutherford’s Khaliel Spearman bombed away from the perimeter in the third quarter, burying five straight 3-pointers at one point during a 4½-minute flurry. He had 16 of his 19 points in the quarter, and his free throw in the period’s final minute pushed the Rams ahead 66-20 going into the fourth quarter.

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