District 1-5A boys: Rutherford dominates Choctaw

Heather Leiphart photo
Published: Monday, February 10, 2014 at 21:23 PM.

PANAMA CITY — Choctawhatchee hadn’t exactly been pulling rabbits out of a hat when advancing through the District 1-5A boys basketball tournament to Saturday’s championship game.

But for two nights, it had been making a little magic.

Unfortunately for the Indians, Rutherford is no stranger to some sleight of hand of its own. The Rams again put on a dazzling display of defense and open-court wizardry for a convincing 63-46 victory to clinch the title at Bay High School.

Rutherford, 22-2, will host the District 2-5A runner-up on Thursday as the region quarterfinals begin. Choctawhatchee, 16-12, will travel to play the 2-5A champion.

The Indians produced two- and three-point wins in their opening district games against Arnold and Bay, but were outmatched by Rutherford, their third county opponent in five days.

It was 23-14 at halftime when Rutherford held Choctawhatchee without a point for nearly the final 6 minutes of the second quarter. Rutherford immediately set about creating offensive opportunities by forcing turnovers and jump-starting defensive rebounds into fast breaks.

The Indians counted only two field goals in the third quarter and suddenly the Rams were in charge 43-22.

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