ROY — It wasn’t an exhibition of flawless basketball. In fact, at certain junctures, it was downright difficult to watch because of countless turnovers and erratic offensive sets.
Roy learned that not every game is filled with smooth sailing, and that sometimes teams are tested in unflattering contests. The Royals passed the challenge with a 48-40 slugfest win over Sky View at home Wednesday night.
“I liked that we showed we could come out and win an ugly game,” Roy coach Dan McClure said. “I don’t feel like we played very well. We had some sickness and a couple injuries, but we were able to battle and do enough. We just talked about how hard it is to win region games. These are big-time games and we need to take some joy in getting a win and move on and get ready for the next one.”
The two teams combined for 35 made field goals on 90 attempts and 32 turnovers.
Despite committing more turnovers than total points (7-6) in the first quarter, the Bobcats (7-7) pulled within three, 23-20, at halftime after falling behind early. Then, at 6:14 in the third quarter, Sky View captured its first lead since the opening basket on Jake Hendricks’ layup, 24-23.
“I thought we were pretty stagnant offensively,” McClure said. “We had a lot of guys standing and we didn’t move really well. Obviously we’re going to work that tomorrow.”
The Royals (9-3) countered with a mini 6-2 run, four points courtesy of Blake Lamb, and never relinquished the lead from that point forward.
Sky View, a team searching for its identity after suffering through massive attrition from graduation, baited Roy's supporting cast to step up with a box-and-one on Brekkott Chapman, the Royals' nationally ranked recruit.
Chapman finished with six points on 3-of-9 shooting with five turnovers. He was held scoreless until one minute left in the third quarter after starting 0 for 6 from the floor.
For the majority of the game, it appeared as if Chapman was disinterested, but McClure attributed his energy level to illness. Late in the fourth quarter, after noticeable frustration, McClure elected to bench his star, which paid dividends. Refueled and rejuvenated, Chapman grabbed three crucial offensive rebounds and scored twice on consecutive inbounds passes to inflate Roy's lead to 44-37 with one minute remaining.
“Just let him regain his composure,” McClure said of his decision to pull Chapman. “He’s battling some sickness right now; he obviously wasn’t full strength. So, it was: Let him catch his breath a little bit, but also let him focus again and hit the reset button and start over. He did come out a different player after I sat him.”
Late in the first quarter Roy collapsed the box-and-one behind Cody Hobbs’ touch from the perimeter. The junior, who finished with 11 points, knocked down three treys and forced Sky View to switch to a two-three zone. Nate Jones (five points), Lamb (11 points) and Dakota Nalder also elevated their performances throughout different stretches to keep the Roy offense afloat.
“I thought Nate Jones was really good in the first half, especially,” McClure said. “He brought really good energy — he missed some shots — but his energy was really good. Dakota Nalder (eight points), I thought hit some key shots. There was a stretch in the fourth quarter where we started trading baskets with them and he hit a couple big shots.”
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