The Bulldogs' senior helped engineer a 51-40 win at Liberty.
By DOUG CHAPIN
LIBERTY -- Some fans might see "Kevin Rigby 1-0-3" in the box score of Lakeview's 51-40 win over Liberty and assume the Bulldogs' senior forward had a bad game.
That couldn't be further from the truth.
Rigby made his lone 3-point attempt in the game and missed three 2-point field goal attempts, but as usual he played a key role as Lakeview stayed unbeaten (16-0, 12-0 Trumbull Athletic Conference).
The 6-foot-3 senior grabbed seven rebounds and dished out six assists while making Liberty's Bradley Fletcher work hard for his game-high 22 points.
"Coaches talk so much about intangibles. All you have to do is take a look at Kevin Rigby to see what those intangibles are," Lakeview coach Larry Herrholtz said. "He rebounds, he takes good shots, he plays good defense, he makes good passes, he sees the floor well and he's a team leader."
For the record, the Bulldogs' usual balanced scoring sheet was paced by seniors Brandon Bakker and Jeff Ellens with 11 points each.
Matt Nero added 10 and Brent McCullough chipped in eight points, three rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots.
Ellens also had six rebounds as Lakeview held a 30-20 edge on the boards.
"We played well tonight; we just got beat by a better team," Liberty coach Burt Stellers said. "We're still very inexperienced. These guys got their brains beat in the last two years. This is the first season we've been in a situation where we are competing and we're still learning. I'm proud of the way we've played against a team that is 16-0 for a reason."
Herrholtz can tell you why his team still has a zero in the loss column.
"We have nine role players and they all know their roles," he said. "We've got some shooters and some drivers and some rebounders and some defenders and some ballhandlers. And they all take pride in what they do."
Lakeview led 23-19 at halftime, then went on an 11-4 run to start the third quarter, increasing the lead to 34-23.
Liberty fought back and trailed 38-34 with 1:04 left in the period on a basket by Fletcher. Matt Nero then drilled a 3-pointer as the Bulldogs led 41-34 heading into the last quarter.
Down the stretch
Liberty (8-6, 6-5) was within six, 45-39, with 1:23 left in the game, but Ellens went 4 of 4 down the stretch from the foul line to seal the win.
For the Leopards, Fletcher added five rebounds to his point total, Joe Lopez had eight points and four assists, Joel Marshall scored seven points and had five rebounds and Steve Patterson had six rebounds and three steals.
Herrholtz has managed to keep his team focused despite the pressure of being undefeated.
"We don't talk about goals, or the league race, we talk about our next game," he said. "Champion is our next game, they are our big rival and we're playing at Champion. That's where our focus is."