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RUSH too much for McAuley Catholic in second half

Feb. 1—McAuley Catholic held Southwest Missouri RUSH to just 11 points in the first quarter after RUSH had exploded to 96 points in the opening round of the Mercy/Warrior Classic.

The Warriors (11-9) weren't able to hold down the high-powered offense all game though as they eventually suffered a 66-39 loss.

The score was 11-10 after the first quarter and McAuley used two 3-pointers from Michael Parrigon to close the gap from 11-4.

"I thought we did a good job flying around, and they hit a couple shots and then they missed a couple and we were able to get some stops," McAuley head coach Tony Witt said. "We just weren't able to do much offensively tonight."

Parrigon scored 8 first-half points but went scoreless in the second half. The Warriors were led offensively by Bradley Wagner's 12 points.

RUSH used an efficient shooting night from Ryan Ray to earn the victory. Ray made seven 3-pointers in the first half, with six in the second quarter on his way to 10 for the entire game. Ray finished with 30 points all from those outside shots.

"We do a good job defending. I give our guys credit for the way they fly around. When you're playing hard and defending shots and they're still making shots, that'll take the wind out of your sails," Witt said.

Joe Graves added 18 and Garrett Rudy chipped in 11 more for RUSH.

Breck Sickman scored to start the second quarter and gave McAuley a 12-11 lead. RUSH got it right back on Ray's first triple of the second quarter at 14-12.

That shot began a 9-0 run for the second-seeded team that gave it a 21-12 lead. But the Warriors scored 7 in a row to hang tight from a Connor Taffner layup, a Rocco Bazzano-Joseph trey and a pair of free throws from Bradley Wagner. Taffner's layup actually featured a slick dribble move where he went between the legs from behind his body instead of in front and picked the ball up and kissed it off the glass.

RUSH then scored 14 in a row and got three triples from Ray during that run. It was 38-24 at halftime and McAuley never got any closer during the second half.

The third-seeded Warriors play rival College Heights (12-8) at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday for third place.

"I just want to see us bounce back. I felt like they sped us up offensively and we were doing some uncharacteristic things," Witt said. "I would like to see more poise from our guys."

RUSH meets Greenwood (18-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday for the championship. Greenwood topped College Heights 62-51 on Thursday night.