HALTOM CITY -- Richland buried eight 3-pointers and Oklahoma State signee Leyton Hammonds heated up to knock down 23 points as the Rebels defeated Justin Northwest 62-50 in a District 4-5A game Tuesday at Thomas Coliseum.
Despite Richland leads that topped 15 points twice in the game, Northwest hung around.
That registered some concern and Hammonds said the Rebel's defense is what has improved to get through tight games.
"We're just better on nights like tonight when we don't shoot well," he said. "We've also struggled with off-side rebounding and we limited that some tonight."
It was the opening stretch of the fourth quarter that finally subdued any Northwest chances.
Hammonds worked the baseline for an easy layup to open up the quarter, then spotted up for a right-side 3-pointer.
Noticing the comfort level, guard Hayden Hunter served up one more to Hammond from the left side. That 3-pointer made it 49-35 and Richland (15-7 overall, 4-0 in district) never looked back.
"I'm glad Leyton got going because we just shot the ball terribly," Richland coach Richard Bacon said. "That's the biggest difference between him and an average player. I've coached some great ones, but he's the kind of player that can take over a game for us."
The Rebels shot 32 percent from the floor that included a 4-for-24 third quarter.
"We're a better shooting team than that," Bacon said. "So that's our biggest challenge is getting the ball knocked down against the zone. Northwest did a nice job of using that tonight."
Hammonds scored 12 of his 23 in the final quarter while Northwest (10-8, 1-3) worked to keep the ball away from him.
Todd Christensen had 12 points and Josh Tatum had 11 to lead Northwest. The Texans struggled from the field as well, connecting on just 17 of 40 attempts.
Bacon said he's pleased with any win, but his team will need to figure out some offensive jitters as they head into a first-place battle with Keller on Friday.
"If we just stay with the kind of defense that we can play, Hunter can get his shot going, we'll be just fine," he said.
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