On Monday night the Rich Hill Tigers traveled to Butler for the District 13 Championship game. They would play the Lockwood Tigers who they had met earlier in the season and had defeated. This would be the second trip to a Championship game for the Tigers in the last four years. The fans from Rich Hill filled the gym with an electric atmosphere and the cheerleaders added to that festivity with each player featured on a giant face poster. There was more build of anticipation to this game since the game had been postponed from Saturday due to the weather. After the opening tip off the Rich Hill Tigers jumped off to an early lead with them hitting quick 3 pointers. Afterwards it seemed like the basket had closed up and the boys found themselves trailing 6-8 after the first quarter.
The second quarter the Tigers offense didn’t fair much better and they didn’t score again until about half way thru the quarter. Despite the offensive woes the defense was able to limit the Lockwood team’s offense to trail only 17-23 at the half.
The opening of the second half saw the Rich Hill boys score the first basket and cut the lead to just four. Trying to get back into the game the Tigers worked on switching up defense but Lockwood was able to also adjust and the as the third quarter closed the Tigers had made progress but still trailed by four to start the fourth quarter.
It seemed everything that Lockwood did to start the quarter worked and the Rich HIll boys found themselves in a deep hole late in the game trailing by double digits with a little less than three minutes left. The defensive intensity by the Tigers picked up and a couple of quick turnovers converted to baskets allowed them to cut the lead to six. With Lockwood seemingly rattled the Tigers kept applying pressure and a couple of key threes and free throws allowed the R.H. Tigers to tie the score. Lockwood had one last chance in regulation but failed to score allowing the Tigers to get one last shot with three seconds left. The shot was a little off mark and sent the game into overtime.
In the first overtime Rich Hill found themselves down by as much as five but were able to tie the score and go into the second overtime. The second overtime proved to be different with Lockwood winning the tip the boys were able to get a defensive stop and come down and score and take the lead which they wouldn’t give up. A key player from Lockwood fouled out and the Rich Hill boys were able to make their free throws and win the game 64-57. After the game the Rich Hill Boys and their fans were able to celebrate a hard fought win for the Championship.
This victory for the District Championship was the first for Rich Hill since the 2001-2002 season. This also marked the first district championship at the 2A level and the first in his career for Coach Ryan Rapp. After the game Coach Rapp told the team that it had been a true team effort. All the hard work the players had put in since last summer had paid off. The coaching staff would like to thank all the parents and fans for all their support and what it meant to the team. Leading scorers were Bryant Courter with 35, Blaine Robb 9, Cole Heckdon 8 and Jacob Thompson and Jacob Mumma with 6 a piece.
The Tigers next travel to Clinton on Tuesday night in the sectional round against the Scared Heart Gremlins, who earlier in the evening defeated Osceola at Windsor 66-54.