Blue Devils sweep at weekend tournament
WORTHINGTON — Playing a scrappy brand of team basketball, the Riverland men won both of their games in the season opening Minnesota West Classic.
Starting the season on Friday, the Riverland Blue Devils posted a 74-64 win over Western Wisconsin Technical College. Riverland rode that momentum and came back with a 53-50 win over Madison (Wis.) Area Technical College on Saturday.
"We faced a much bigger team in the opener, but we did a great job and our guys played with a lot of intensity," Riverland coach Scott Koenigs said. "We banged the boards, but had too many turnovers and were forced to rally."
Down by eight points midway through the second half, the Blue Devils came back with good defense and key points in transition. Zach Bunch, a freshman guard, had a huge game for the Blue Devils with 25 points.
Taylor Morgan added 17 points in the win. Austin High alum Andrew Kaiser scored 12 points in the season opener as he made a pair of treys.
"On Saturday,we played outstanding defense and beat Madison by three points," Koenigs said. "They had 6-foot-9 guy in the paint, so we got after it and hustled to get a win.
"Taylor (Morgan) battled with their big guys and used his speed to get open around the basket. We got behind by five points in the second half, but came back as Taylor hit a few treys. A lot of people probably didn't think we'd win two games all season, so we got off to a great start."
Taking over in the second half, Morgan led the Blue Devils to a second straight win. He scored 21 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. Marcus Ratliff and Bunch also hit double figures in the road win.
Riverland (2-0) plays it home opener against NIACC on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Zach Bunch 25, Taylor Morgan 17, Andrew Kaiser 12, Wayne Canady 8, Jeff Clark-Neal 5, Marcus Ratliff 6, Shane Barry 1, Brandon Sims 0, Keith Thames 0.
Free throws:Riverland 22-35.
Three-pointers:RIverland 7 (Bunch 3, Canady 2, Kasier 2).
Taylor Morgan 23, Zach Bunch 12, Marcus Ratliff 11, Keith Thames 4, Wayne Canady 3, Shane Barry 0, Andrew Kaiser 0, Jeff Clark-Neal 0.
Free throws:Riverland 7-9.
Three-pointers:Riverland 6 (Ratliff 3, Morgan 3).