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Collins senior forward Ralphie Stone earned all-8thRegion honors last season as the sixth man for the basketball team. Tuesday night Stone picked up where he left off.
Stone scored a game-high 24 points in reserve, sparking Collins to a 64-46 victory over visiting Gallatin County in the season-opener for both teams.
“Ralphie was a big difference-maker for us,” Titans Coach Chris Gaither said.
So was Collins’ defense, which held the Wildcats to 29.6 percent shooting (8 of 27).
“I thought defensively we were good for most of the game,” said Gaither, whose team also forced 20 turnovers.
Checking in midway through the first quarter, Stone used his 6-foot-3 size to give the Titans a boost, scoring inside and in transition. He had nine points in the opening period, helping build a 16-9 lead.
“We expect him to do that,” Gaither said. “He and [junior point guard] Brent [Kidwell] are really the only returning guys, until we get [senior] Lawson [Page] back [from football], who have a ton of playing experience. Those are the guys we expect the most out of right now.”
The Titans held Gallatin County scoreless for the first 3 minutes, 50 seconds of the second quarter, as their lead grew to 11 (20-9), before the Wildcats closed to 24-17 at intermission.
“At halftime we noticed we only had one assist as a team, we thought that was a problem, we were playing too quick,” Gaither said.
The Titans had six assists in the second half, when they outscored the Wildcats, 21-13, in the third quarter and 19-16 in the fourth. Collins, which shot 33.3 percent (10-for-30) in the first half, hit 53.8 percent (14-of-26) of its field-goal attempts after halftime.
Stone finished 8-of-10 from the field and the free-throw line. He also finished with four rebounds, including three on the offensive end, as the Titans outrebounded Gallatin, 30-25, including 14-4 on the offensive end.
“I was pleased overall with our work ethic,” Gaither said.
Kidwell, meanwhile, had 12 points (eight in the second half) and four assists. Senior wing Paul Miller added eight points, and senior center Caleb Vogel contributed seven points and a team-high six rebounds.
The Titans were scheduled to play North Oldham on Saturday night, but because the school’s football team will be playing in the Class AAAA state final that afternoon, the game has been rescheduled for Jan. 7. Collins next plays at reigning 8thRegion champ South Oldham at 7:30 p.m. Monday.