Updated Fri, Jan 31, 2014 5:21 pm
Tight games, hot tempers, and a remarkable milestone summarize the last three games for the struggling RedStorm of Rio Grande. Last week the RedStorm were riding a six-game win streak and were sitting at the top of the conference. One win and two losses later, Rio has found themselves in need of another confidence boost. The RedStorm (14-7, 7-3) will get that chance on Saturday afternoon as they host the Cumberlands (13-7, 5-5).
The RedStorm are 7-3 since junior forward Josh Reagan returned to the hardwood, but the junior forward has shown that his temper can get the best of him. The reining Mid-South Conference Player of the Week lost his composure in a crucial moment in Thursday night’s 100-96 loss to Georgetown after sinking a critical bucket for the RedStorm in the final minutes of the first half. The confident playmaker let the Georgetown bench know about it his sharp-shooting skills and earned his fourth technical foul in only nine games this season. Reagan exploded for 46 points in the win over Bluefield last Saturday but his inability to stay on the court has severely hurt the RedStorm. If Reagan can manage to stay out of foul trouble, Rio Grande will be able to contend in every game down the stretch.
Senior guard Jermaine Warmack highlighted the RedStorm’s attack in Thursday night’s loss, netting a team-high 21 points en route to his 1,000th career point and more. Mr. 1,000 also added a team-high seven assists and six rebounds. Warmack is Rio Grande’s all-time leader in assists and will be looking to contribute in any fashion he can on Saturday. The senior guard only has a few games left in the red and white and will be itching for a conference victory in front of a home crowd.
Rio’s two losses came against Pikeville and Georgetown, the two toughest teams in the MSC. The Georgetown loss started Rio’s second half of MSC play and their schedule is only going to get tougher. Rio traveled to Cumberlands, Ky., and knocked off the Patriots 66-65 on Jan. 2. Rio will need to play with the same intensity of that night in order to be able to knock them off again.
R.J. Scott leads the Patriots in scoring, averaging 11 points per game. Shaquille Lowery leads in assists and steals. The last time these two playmakers combined for 31 points. Rio has struggled to contain opposing point guards lately and are susceptible to giving up three-pointers. If Scott and Lowery’s chemistry is on point and the dynamic shooting duo gets hot early, it could be bad news for the RedStorm.
Rio Grande and the Cumberlands will battle it out in Newt Oliver Arena at 4 p.m.