RICHMOND – To borrow a major-league baseball term, Richmond-Burton is blessed with a rich farm system.
Several of the Rockets’ top prospects already are with the big club, and when recent injuries struck, R-B just reached down and plucked another from the sophomore team, 6-foot-5 left-hander Reggie Banks.
Banks is making his mark with the Rockets, as he did in the first half of Friday’s 87-64 victory over North Boone in their Big Northern Conference East Division boys basketball game at Lou Ramirez Gymnasium.
Banks had six points, four rebounds and two blocked shots in helping R-B (10-3 overall, 2-0 BNC East) roll up a big second-quarter advantage on its way to the victory. On Friday, Banks was helping make up for the loss of 6-8 freshman Joey St. Pierre, who was out with a calf injury, and senior forward Grant Miller, who still is recovering from an ankle sprain.
“It was pretty easy to get acclimated because we ran the same defense [on the sophomore team],” Banks said. “The coaches were able to get me going with understanding the offensive sets. It really gave me confidence to blend in. It’s been a good ride so far.”
R-B coach Brandon Creason promoted Banks before the Marengo E.C. Nichols Tournament at Christmas, making Friday’s game his sixth with the varsity.
“I looked at our sophomore coach [Rich Petska] and said, ‘Sorry. Make do, you’re not getting him back,’ ” Creason said with a smile. “When we add Joe [St. Pierre] with him, that’s a good 1-2. He’s having to play the block here, but with Joe we can move Reggie out on the floor. He can move well and pass and hit some shots.”
R-B, which won the Marengo Tournament, won its sixth consecutive game Friday by breaking open a close game in the second quarter. Guard Brian Wells hit Mike Kaska for an open 3-pointer to start the quarter, then Wells hit two free throws and a driving layup. The Rockets had a 24-8 in that quarter.
“All five guys on the court wanted to help their teammates and were giving the extra pass,” Wells said. “That was making the other guy open for a nice look and we were hitting shots. Once we saw people hit shots, it made other people feel good and it just kind of all came into flow.”
Kaska led the Rockets with 21 points and hit five 3s. Sam Kaufman added 19 points, while Creason credited senior forward Danny Rygiel for other reasons.
“We give him a hard time about [not] scoring [a lot] but Danny is the glue guy,” Creason said. “He gets tipped passes, rebounds and he’s averaging three charges a game. He got two or three tonight and really helped change the momentum with taking charges in that quarter.”
North Boone (3-6, 1-2) was led by Kyle Hoffman with 14 points and Griffin Schuster with 12. The Vikings had 19 turnovers at halftime and finished with 34, although they trailed only 20-19 after the first quarter.
“We failed to rebound, and if you don’t rebound, you can’t control tempo,” North Boone coach Richard Williams said. “Richmond-Burton got some boards and we were under pressure because of it.”