Rehoboth outlasts Tohatchi
A better effort on the defensive boards turned the tide for the Rehoboth boys’ basketball team on Thursday night.
Heading into the fourth quarter the Lynx were locked in a 45-45 tie with Tohatchi. But in the final stanza Rehoboth dominated the defensive boards and pulled away with a 61-51 win over their former district brethren.
“We were forcing some tough shots throughout the game but we were giving up a lot of offensive rebounds for putbacks,” Rehoboth coach Kevin Zwiers said. “In the fourth quarter we controlled that a lot better.”
With that said, the Lynx were able to fast break as they opened up a commanding 59-49 advantage with 2:30 left after freshman guard Talon West split a pair at the free-throw line.
“The guys didn’t give up and mentally they were pretty tough,” Zwiers said. “It’s always tough to play Tohatchi at Tohatchi. But my guys responded really well. We were down but they never panic. They fought their way back.”
Rehoboth got solid performances from sophomore Jake Zylstra and seniors Kevin Johnny and Allen West as the Lynx improved to 11-1 overall heading into Saturday’s game with Albuquerque Menaul.
Zylstra had a huge game as he finished with 28 points while West had 13 and Johnny chipped in 10.
“We made some huge defensive stops,” Allen West said. “I really thought we took that to a whole new level. It was all about boxing out and getting your butt down and getting those rebounds.”
With Rehoboth limiting the Cougars to only one shot in the fourth quarter, Tohatchi coach Jim Smith gave credit where it was due.
“In a tense game like this we kind of lost focus,” he said. “Rehoboth is a well disciplined team. They know how to box out and they killed us on the boards. It’s one of those things where we didn’t stay disciplined but I am proud of my boys. The game just got away from us in that final quarter.”
After one quarter of play, Rehoboth led 14-12 with Zylstra scoring six early points. The Cougars erased that deficit and opened up a 21-16 advantage on a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Marcus Tahe with 3:44 left before intermission.
The Lynx, however, closed out the half on a 10-6 run and trailed 27-26 at the break.
In an entertaining third quarter, Tohatchi nailed three treys – two by senior Byren Chee – to go up 39-36 with three minutes left.
Rehoboth countered that attack with some old-fashioned three-point plays. West converted a pair in succession as the Lynx gained a slight 42-39 edge with 2:23 to go.
“We were going back and forth with them but I told my guys that we can’t trade baskets with them,” Smith said.
Thanks to some putbacks the Cougars tied the contest at 45-all heading into the fourth.
Tahe led Tohatchi with 11 points while senior Justin Leonard helped out with nine and Chee added eight. Leonard was a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line.
As a team, Tohatchi made 8-of-10 free throws while Rehoboth went 12-for-20.
The Cougars will be off until next Friday when they open District 1-3A play, hosting Thoreau.
Rehoboth, meanwhile, will start league play on Tuesday against Newcomb, the reigning district champion.
“It’s always fun to play Newcomb,” West said. “It’s always fun to see two good teams play each other. Last year they were pretty tough but I think this year we can give them a good match.”