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For three quarters Tuesday night, the Richmond Spartans dominated the Panthers at Knob Noster in a key MRVC East battle. Then – there was the fourth quarter. The Spartans watched what was a 16-point lead dwindle and eventually slip away as the Panthers pulled out a 50-46 victory.
The loss drops Richmond to 3-2 in the league, while Knob Noster improves to 4-1 to stay right behind first-place Higginsville’s 5-0 mark.
Ivan Pyszka’s 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:21 remaining in the game tied the contest at 46-46, after the Panthers had trailed throughout the night, and by 16 points with just under 2:00 left in the third period. A pair of Spartan turnovers led to two easy layups for Knob Noster’s final points. Meanwhile, the Richmond offense, which had played well for most of the night, fell silent as the Spartans managed just two field goals in the final 8 minutes.
“We just couldn’t make a play to win the game,” Richmond Coach Duane Bastob said. “The turnover bug hit again, and until we play each possession like it’s our last, we will not be able to put good teams away on a consistent basis.”
The Spartans had two final chances with 1:11 left in the game, but could not get the ball through the hoop.
Cullen Rosine carried the Panthers on his back all night long as he hit for a game-high 31 points. The Spartans held a 14-11 lead after one quarter, with Rosine accounting for all of the home team’s offense. By halftime, the Panther senior had 16 of Knob Noster’s total as Richmond held a 28-20 lead.
Once again, Rosine was the offense in the third period with 9 points, while Pyszka added a 3-pointer.
The rest of the Panthers found their offensive game in the fourth quarter as they chipped away at the Spartan lead.
Jon Vance led the Richmond scoring with 16 points, including the final Spartan field goal of the night with 2:47 left in the game. Robert Brewer posted a double-double for the 13-6 Spartans with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Trey Folvarcik added 5 points, with Kyle Carroll hitting a 3-point bucket.
Jordan Smith, Jacob Swope, Blaine Broderick, James Vance and D’Andre Williams all added 2 points. James Vance and Jon Vance grabbed a half-dozen rebounds each.
Brian Hughes was also in double figures for Knob Noster, which improves to 14-4 overall, with 11 points – 7 of those in the final period.
PHOTO: Jon Vance (21) found success inside early for the Spartans, but the Knob Noster defense finished strong in a 50-46 win over visiting Richmond Tuesday night. (Photo by Russ Green/The Daily News.)