OLIVE HILL Rose Hill Christian had three players in the 16th Region All "A" Classic semifinals on Monday night that it didn't have six days earlier against Raceland.
The Rams focused inward instead of getting too concerned with that.
"I told our guys, 'The biggest thing we have to do is win all the hustle plays, rebounding, diving on the floor, 50-50 balls,'" Raceland coach Bob Trimble said. "'If we outwork them, I felt like we're a better team, but if we don't, then it could be a dogfight.'
"But we got off to a good start, our defense was really good early and we knocked down some shots and got off on a good note."
The result was more of the same. Raceland took down the Royals, 81-52, at West Carter's John "Hop" Brown Court behind eight first-half 3-pointers and double-figure nights from Kirk Pence, Kyle Broughton and Andrew Floyd.
The Rams began on a 17-2 run and kept bombarding, going up 34-8 two and a half minutes into the second quarter en route to an All "A" region final rematch with West Carter on Thursday.
"We can be a good basketball team, but we're not a good enough team to dig out of those kind of holes," Rose Hill coach Johnny Bush said.
The Royals kept coming, using a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter to keep it from getting any closer to running-clock territory, but Raceland had already connected on eight 3-pointers by that point -- 10 and a half minutes in.
"(Former Raceland) coach (Shawn) Johnson used to call that fool's gold. You hit a few and then you keep jacking 'em," Trimble said, cracking a grin. "We got up big there in the first half and really could've just blown it wide open, and we start taking some quick 3s instead of working the ball and getting great shots. We could've really pushed it out, but it's early in the season. Everybody's on a quick path to playing, and so we're just excited to be in the finals."
Bush said the Royals were prepared for that triple onslaught, but couldn't shut it down.
"We knew exactly where they were gonna shoot their 3s from, and 21 of their 24 points from 3s (in the first half) came from the two spots I marked," Bush said, smiling ruefully. "Raceland did a really good job of throwing it in and out, moving the ball quick, but when we know where they're gonna shoot, we gotta be able to get out there."
Pence scored 33 points for the Rams (3-1), including 19 in the first half. He made his first four treys and also collected 11 rebounds. Broughton scored 17 points and Floyd added 13.
Broughton, who broke onto the scene as a sharpshooter last year, connected on three 3s Monday but also displayed a burgeoning mid-range game.
"We want Kyle to put it on the floor and look to attack," Trimble said. "He's pushing the ball in transition and making plays, shooting 3s, a good rebounder. He got some points around the basket on some slips.
"Kyle's becoming more of a scorer instead of just a shooter. ... He can really shoot it, but he's adding other parts to his game, which is gonna really help us."
Stacey Jackson pitched in 22 points for the Royals (0-5), getting to the rack time and again. Chase Pennington scored 16 points, going 4 for 5 from the perimeter.
Jackson, Luke Larsen and Tate Akers were new to the Royals lineup from their meeting last weekend with the Rams, a 69-37 Raceland victory on its home floor. Rose Hill is still getting used to working in that trio, Bush said.
"When we're playing in transition, when we have our full squad, we look a lot better," Bush said. "Our execution was just sloppy. When we were executing, we were so slow getting into it."
Raceland and West Carter meet Thursday for the 16th Region's small-school state berth. The Comets topped the Rams for those honors last season.
The Royals played in their first All "A" region semifinal since 2009, having drawn a quarterfinal bye. That was the last year Rose Hill won a game in the tournament.
Raceland's win was its 17th consecutive against the Royals.
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ROSE HILL FG FT REB TP
L. Pennington 0-2 0-0 2 0
C. Pennington 5-7 2-2 5 16
Larsen 2-8 0-0 3 4
Justice 1-1 1-1 4 3
Coleman 2-7 0-1 3 4
Jackson 10-27 2-3 1 22
Akers 1-1 1-1 2 3
VanHoose 0-0 0-0 0 0
Crawford 0-0 0-0 0 0
Blevins 0-0 0-0 0 0
Wilburn 0-1 0-0 0 0
Hensley 0-0 0-0 0 0
TOTAL 21-54 6-8 21 52
FG Pct.: 38.9. FT Pct.: 75.0. 3-pointers: 4-19 (C. Pennington 4-5, Jackson 0-9, L. Pennington 0-1, Wilburn 0-1, Larsen 0-1, Coleman 0-2). PF: 16. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 10.
RACELAND FG FT REP TP
Floyd 5-12 1-2 8 13
Pence 9-13 11-16 11 33
Broughton 7-12 0-0 4 17
Stephens 0-0 0-0 2 0
Reed 1-2 2-2 2 4
Gauze 1-1 0-0 1 2
Gallion 3-3 0-0 7 6
Newman 1-4 0-0 0 2
Perkins 2-3 0-0 0 4
Fannin 0-0 0-0 1 0
Wallace 0-0 0-0 0 0
Farley 0-0 0-0 0 0
Heighton 0-0 0-0 0 0
TOTAL 29-50 14-20 37 81
FG Pct.: 58.0. FT Pct.: 70.0. 3-pointers: 9-17 (Pence 4-5, Broughton 3-6, Floyd 2-4, Newman 0-1, Perkins 0-1). PF: 11. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 8.
ROSE HILL 8 12 23 9 -- 52
RACELAND 20 18 23 20 -- 81
Officials: Nathan Sutton, Jeff Callihan and Dave Fields.