A BLISTERING BREAKOUT: Daugherty’s record-tying shooting display helps Greene County snap season-opening skid
By BRANDON HURLEY
A historic three-point barrage sky-rocketed the Greene County boys’ basketball team from the depths of despair Jan. 8.
The Rams snapped a six-game losing streak, picking up their first win of the winter with a 59-45 victory over Saydel. Sophomore Richard Daugherty was the undeniable breakout star of the night, tying a school-record with 9 threes, while pouring in a career-high 31 points, helping the Rams pull away from a six-point halftime advantage.
Daugherty certainly had a night to remember.
The sophomores 9 threes are the most in a single game in 2A this winter, highlighted by a ridiculous third quarter in which he drilled four threes and poured in 14 points.
He’s one of only two players across all four classes to make nine in a game this year. HLV’s Grant Hall also drilled 9 threes in a one-point loss to Belle Plaine on Dec. 22. Five players have made eight threes in a single game this winter while 16 athletes have made seven threes.
Former Greene County sharp-shooter Trey Hinote, who holds the school’s all-time career three record at 269 makes, drilled nine threes Dec. 17, 2018 against Woodward-Granger to set the current school record, breaking his own record of eight threes. Hinote also holds the single-season Greene County record with 86 made three pointers. Obviously, Hinote was expected to make it rain from deep, while Daugherty was a little bit of a lesser-known commodity coming into the season.
The sophomore entered Friday’s record-tying contest having made only seven total threes in five games played up to that point at a 26 percent clip.
Daugherty’s long range onslaught last week may have come as a surprise to many outsiders, but it was certainly no shock to Greene County head coach Chris Nelson. He knew the underclassman sharp shooter had a smooth stroke, he just hasn’t quite found it yet in game. Greene County’s monumental win over Saydel was a perfect storm.
“Richard has a very nice shot and has shown he can put the ball in the hoop a lot,” Nelson said. “I think he was just putting too much pressure on himself and once he started to relax, his shot took over. Not surprised at all by how he performed Friday.”
It was indeed fairly extraordinary breakout though the sophomore had been launching just a hair over five threes per game (5.4) entering last week’s contest with Saydel. His previous single-game best this winter was Dec. 19 against Grinnell when he drilled three of his four attempts from deep. in the 53-38 loss. Nelson knew his young sophomore’s shooting style and technique would eventually allow for a big night, just how historic it would be was a little more difficult to predict.
“He has a very smooth shot and a good release,” Nelson said. “He gets squared to the hoop well and when he gets in rhythm and the shot is in one movement he is going to make a lot of shots.”
Daugherty’s 31 points are the most by a Greene County athlete since Carter Morton scored 38 in a 73-72 win over Panorama Jan. 13, 2020.
Daugherty hasn’t been the only one launching bombs from deep this season. As a team, Greene County made 11 of 24 three-pointers in their win over Saydel for a 46 percent success rate.
The Rams escaped the suffocating clutches of defeat for the first time last week, perhaps sparking a turnaround over the remaining month or so. The lights-out shooting display coupled punctuated by a comfortable victory was a much-needed positive note, which should provide a substantial boost for the struggling ballers.
“We have shown earlier this season we can play good basketball and our defense has been good all year,” Nelson said. “We just needed to start knocking down some shots and we did Friday night. For shooters, once you see shots going in, can do a lot for your confidence on both ends of the court.”
The Rams have struggled staying with opponents consistently. They’ve, at times, looked well on their way to a nice victory before imploding somewhere along the line. The Rams continue to put up good shots, but they just haven’t fallen consistently, as evidenced by their overall shooting percentage of 35 percent (entering Tuesday’s matchup with Nevada) and a dismal 24.7 percent clip from three, having made just 46 of 186 attempts from deep. The answer, Nelson said, is an improved intelligence and understanding of the game plan.
“We just need to keep running and executing our X’s and O’s on both ends,” the coach said. “We have to understand if something breaks down we can still find ways to be successful. (We) just need to continue to be confident in what we can do and just keep competing.”
The Rams followed last week’s win with a 66-56 defeat at the hands of Panorama on the road Monday in Panora. The Rams shot just 36 percent from the field and a mere 24 percent from three, knocking down six of their 24 points. Stalder scored a game-high 24 points while Riley dished out five assists.
The Rams remain on the road tonight (Jan. 21) to take on Perry before heading to Gilbert to take on Grand View Christian on Saturday (Jan. 23).