Cruisin’ to victory

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Red Level’s Spencer Stallworth drives down the court during the first half Tuesday night at J.F. Shields High School. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Red Level defeats McKenzie 65-28, advances

BEATRICE — Red Level didn’t have to do much against McKenzie on Tuesday night to show who is the better team.

RLS strutted to an early 10-0 lead and only allowed 10 points in the first half to beat MHS 65-28 in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A, Area 3 tournament in W.R. Averett Gymnasium at J.F. Shields High School.

“We feel good for the win,” RLS coach Allen Catrett said. “Any win in the post season is good.”

From the start, RLS didn’t show much on defense as it played more of a 2-3 zone.

RLS senior guard Justin Maddox, who stands at 6-foot-6, made his presence known keying in on several blocks for the local Tigers.

Maddox scored Red Level’s first two points on a putback to set up the early 10-0 run. Dee Tolbert got a jumper to put RLS up 6-0 and Spencer Stallworth got a jumper to put the team ahead 8-0.

“He’s got 44 blocks for the season, not counting tonight,” Catrett said about Maddox. “He’s gotten better this year about being in position.”

Stallworth completed the run with a drive in the line.

McKenzie’s C.J. Pugh drained his team’s first points of the night with two minutes left in the first period.

Red Level’s KJ Lawrence got a nice 3-ball play with 1:13 and Tolbert nailed a 3-pointer to put their team ahead 17-4 after one.

RLS led 30-7 with 4:45 left in the first half, and Maddox got two blocks on the defensive end to pace the team.

The game got to 38-10 with less than a minute left, where McKenzie’s Nicarius Peterson got a layup.

Red Level’s Mark Adams closed out the first half with a rebound and putback to put the team ahead 40-10 at halftime.

With this victory, RLS improves to 16-13 overall and will face J.F. Shields at 7 p.m. on Friday in the semifinals.

Lawrence got the scoring started in the second half, Maddox got another blocks and Tolbert drove the court on transition to help put RLS ahead 48-12.

Maddox later added an open dunk to put RLS up 58-18 with less than a minute left in the third period.

RLS led 60-18 after the third period to force a running clock in the fourth.

MHS outscored RLS 10-5 in the fourth period.

Lawrence finished with 20 points to lead RLS. Stallworth added 16 points, Tolbert had 12 points and Maddox 10.

Peterson led MHS with seven points. Pugh and Ty Adams had six points each.

Catrett said the team will have to learn how to play against “perfection” come Friday night.

“We’ve got to get home and work on Shields,” Catrett said. “Shields isn’t the No. 1 team in the area for no reason.

“If you look up on the walls, you can see how many state championships they got,” he said.

When asked how can RLS beat JFSHS, Catrett said the team must do many things.

“First, you better play great defense for four quarters,” he said. “You’ve got to take care of the basketball. Control the boards. You’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity they give you. And, play with a whole lot of heart.”