By Vance Janak

Special to the Telegram

HUTCHINSON — Riverton earned its first trip to the Class 3A state tournament in four years with a pair of upsets in its substate.

The second-seeded Beavers scored the game's first 12 points, hit 60 percent of its shots, and only played its starters for only a few minutes in the second half while continuing to build the lead with its reserves en route to a 75-40 victory.

"The main thing was we came out relaxed and ready to play instead of putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to go crazy," Scott City coach Glenn O'Neil said. "We tried to come out and be business-like and take care of business."

The game unfolded perfectly for Scott City (23-1). The Beavers used its sticky trapping defense to overwhelm the Rams (13-9).

Jumping on the Rams from the outset, Scott City came up with eight steals on 15 first-half Riverton turnovers and showed just how much it wanted to make a trip to the title game for the first time since 2007 at the Sports Arena.

The Rams never looked comfortable offensively, making just 4-of-18 shots before halftime while falling behind 24-4 at the end of the first quarter and 45-13 at halftime.

"We were a deer in the headlights," Riverton coach Zach Martin said. "We got to standing around. We talked about it all week with attacking the pressure and attacking the basket.

"But you can't simulate what they do in practice. It caught us off guard and we got that deer in the headlight look."

The Beavers kept on rolling in the second half, using an 8-0 run to take its largest lead of 63-20.

The big advantage allowed O'Neil to play all 11 healthy players and rest his starters for the majority of the second half.

"All of our guys played except for our 12th guy because he has a broken hand and he couldn't play," O'Neil said. "It's nice for all those guys to play in the state tournament. It's an experience they can all hang onto."

While the Beavers looked at ease, Martin said his "kids were nervous from the start."

"I thought we were relaxed before the game," Scott City senior guard Mason Turner said, "But we had that sense of urgency when we got on the floor."

Turner scored six of his 10 points in Scott City's initial 12-0 spurt while senior guard Ron Baker added a 3-pointer.

Riverton scored its first point when Logan North drew the second foul on Baker and then made a free throw with 3:22 left in the period.

With Baker, who came into the tournament averaging 20 points, on the bench, the Beavers still pushed its lead to 18-1 on a Brett O'Neil layup off a Scott City steal.

When Baker returned in the second quarter, he quickly went to work on matching his average.

Baker scored 13 of the Beavers' 21 second-quarter points by hitting three 3-pointers from college range while also converting a three-point play.

"In the second quarter I came out, being a senior, you have to be a leader," Baker said. "I hit a couple 3's. Once the 3's are falling, you know you've got the dribble-drive and it opens things up for my teammates as well."

Greyson Spriggs scored a team-high nine points to pace Riverton, which made just 33.3 percent of its shots.

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Riverton 4 9 12 15 — 40

Scott City 24 21 18 12 — 75

RIVERTON (13-9)

Long 1-7 0-0 2, Morril 1-1 3-4 5, North 3-11 2-9 8, Simmons 2-3 2-2 6, Deckard 0-1 0-0 0, Telford 0-1 0-0 0, Wilson 1-8 2-3 4, Weaver 3-6 0-2 6, Spiva 0-0 0-0 0, Springs 3-3 3-5 9, Eckhoff 0-1 0-0 0, Qualls 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-42 12-25 40.

SCOTT CITY (23-1)

O'Neil 4-8 2-2 12, Turner 5-6 0-0 10, Roemer 0-1 0-0 0, Buehler 0-1 0-0 0, Yager 0-0 0-0 0, Baker 7-10 2-3 20, Robinson 1-2 2-2 4, Clinton 0-0 0-0 0, Hess 2-3 3-4 7, Habiger 2-7 0-0 6, Meyer 2-3 3-4 7, Kite 4-4 1-2 9. Totals 27-45 13-17 75.

3-point goals--R 0-9 (Long 0-3, North 0-4, Weaver 0-1, Eckhoff 0-1), SC 8-18 (O'Neil 2-4, Roemer 0-1, Baker 4-5, Robinson 0-1, Habiger 2-7). Fouled out--none. Rebounds--R 22 (Wilson 6), SC 34 (Baker 6). Assists--R 5 (North 2), SC 19 (O'Neil 6). Total fouls--R 12, SC 20.