DODGE CITY — Trey Rolfs and Jayden Garrison poured in 22 points apiece and the Little River boys used a red-hot start and a strong finish to open the Class 1A state tournament with a 65-46 win over St. Francis on Thursday at United Wireless Arena.
The Redskins (22-3) knocked down eight 3-pointers in the first half and forced the Indians into 11 turnovers to open up a 36-19 halftime lead.
St. Francis trimmed the lead down to nine in the third quarter but could get no closer. Little River will advance to face the winner St. John-Hudson in Friday night’s 4:45 p.m. semifinal.
“I thought we came out well and everybody was focused,” Little River coach Wayne Morrow said. “It’s a new setting. You’re coming in here and you got to stay in the moment.
“I was just happy with the kids that they could come out and play and get one under the belt and play the weekend. Our goal today was to play the weekend. That goal changes now. Just happy for the kids. Didn’t play great, but played (well) in spurts.”
St. Francis (16-8) fell behind 21-11 at the end of the first quarter and couldn’t cut into the lead in the second quarter.
The Redskins went 8 of 18 from 3-point range and 13 of 26 from the field in the first half.
“They shot really well. They’re a good team,” St. Francis coach Cory Busse said. “We knew coming in that they could shoot well, but I’ve seen quite a few films and I didn’t see them shoot quite like that.
“They miss a few of those shots and it’s completely different deal. That pretty well summed it up in the first half, for sure.”
Jesse Baxter led St. Francis with 16 points.