Toman leads Ritchie County to win over Raiders

ELLENBORO-Roane County head coach Frank Farrah and his Raiders’ basketball team have overcome a lot of adversity over the last several days. However, there was too much Tristin Toman Monday night as the senior tallied a game-high 31 points to lead Ritchie County to a 64-35 in the Region I, Section 2 tournament opener.

“We came out a little flat to start the game,” said Ritchie County head coach Dave McCullough. “But, once we settled down and played under control, we were able to get our offense going.”

And, that means Toman.

The second team all-state performer bucketed 14 points in the first half as the Rebels shot out to a 30-12 lead and never looked back as Ritchie improved to 13-9 on the season and advances to the sectional semifinal round where it will take on Braxton County in Sutton at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

“They (Braxton County) are a very good team,” said McCullough. “We will have to play our best game to beat them at their place.”

The Rebels started slow on Monday, misfiring on four of their first five shots and committed two turnovers to lead by only two, 2-0, with 5:34 left in the opening quarter.

A triple by Abby Burgess 20 seconds later increased the lead to 5-0, but Roane County answered with a triple of its own by Micky Rhodes to slice the deficit back to two, 5-3, with 3:57 showing on the clock.

Those, however, would be the only points scored by the visitors in the first quarter while the Rebels picked up a trio of points from Toman and a trey from reserve Vanessa Tallman to forge a 10-point, 13-3, lead at the horn.

The margin continued to grow in the second quarter despite three more triples by the Raiders’ Rhodes, who finished with a team-high 18 points. Defense was the name of the game as the Rebels’ came up with seven steals in the quarter and forced five other turnovers by the out-manned Raiders en route to outscoring their visitors by a 17-9 margin.

Toman, who finished with eight rebounds and six steals, continued her scoring onslaught to open the second half as the smooth-shooting guard drilled in four of seven shots from the field and added a pair of free throws to finish with 10 points in the period. Ritchie also received buckets from Kylie Gump, Amanda Davis, Leah Kuhn and Tallman and a free throw from Burgess to head into the final eight minutes of action leading by 26, 50-24.

Roane County, which made only one two point shot, but hit 11 shots from behind the 3-point arc, was able to slice the margin to 22-points, 52-30, on a Shania Lloyd trey. But, that would be as close as the Raiders (5-17) would get as Ritchie would ice the game away at the free throw line.

Toman was the only Rebel to reach double figures, however, Tallman chipped in with nine points, Burgess eight and Gump seven. Lloyd and Cassidy Taylor were the only other Raiders to score, finishing with nine and eight points, respectively.

“Everybody understands that tournaments are one-and-done,” said McCullough. “That may have caused us to play a little tentative at the start. But, once we settled down, we were able to do the things we needed to do to get the win.”