Though his team played three games in four days, coach Bill Heard wants his basketball squad looking at another busy stretch.
That’ll mean RHS is making a deep run in the River Cities Conference Tournament this week. Meanwhile, the Rams (9-3) continued an unbeaten tear through in-state competition by winning their fifth, sixth and seventh games in a row last week, wrapping up with a 52-48 win over Lincoln Pius X at the Nebraska Prep Classic at the Ralston Arena on Saturday.
“It was a long week,” Heard said. “Hopefully, we’ve got another one ahead of us this week with River Cities looking at us.”
Against Pius, Zach Flott again led Class B No. 4 RHS’s charge with his sixth double-double of the season, racking up 26 points and 14 rebounds and hitting the go-ahead basket with 52 seconds remaining in the game.
The Rams were bolstered early by four consecutive 3-pointers off the hands of Jake Goltl and Andy Chleborad, en route to building a 34-25 halftime lead over the Thunderbolts.
Pius put on its own perimeter shooting clinic to close out the third quarter on an 11-2 run, led by three straight 3s from Darrick Manzour to pull the Bolts within one going into the final period, 41-40.
Pius then tied the game at the 2:38 mark on a pair of Grant Schumacher free throws but the Bolts failed to find a fast answer for Flott in the fourth as the Ram big man hit 4 of 5 shots and was 1-of-1 from the free throw line to buoy Ralston to the win.
“The whole game, I never felt really comfortable with how we played,” Heard said. “If I had to grade us, I’d give us about a C. Fortunately, Zach Flott was at an A and he was able to keep us in it.”
Goltl had 10 points to join Flott in double figures and Josh Belling had six assists in the win.
RHS beat Waverly on Jan. 8, 47-44, buffered by a 20-point second quarter. Flott had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Tonio Fidegnon also had a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. Andy Chleborad also added 12 points and eight rebounds.
In a 79-60 win over Fort Calhoun on Jan. 10, four Rams were in double figures, led by Belling’s 20. Fidegnon had 18 points and Chleborad and Goltl had 16 and 10, respectively.
A No. 5 seed in the RCC tourney opening Tuesday, the Rams travel to 6-6 South Sioux City. A win there will pit them against No. 1 seed Roncalli on Thursday.
Of SSC, Heard said Ralston is not looking past a team that is rebuilding after a Class B State runner-up showing a year ago.
“They’re a team that scares you,” Heard said. “They’ve beaten (Sioux City) Heelan, Norfolk, Gretna. It’s going to be a challenge, we’ve got to keep it going.”