GRANVILLE - Just nine made field goals in 37 attempts was all Roanoke-Benson could muster, as DePue used a smothering defense to win the Tri-County Conference tournament title with a 51-25 victory Friday at Putnam County's R.M. Germano Gymnasium.

The Rockets (13-8), who never led in the game, trailed 23-15 before the Little Giants (21-1) scored the final nine points of the third quarter to boost the advantage to 32-15.

"To be down eight and they go on a 9-0 run was huge," pointed out R-B coach Abe Zeller. "To let a team go on a 9-0 run and bump the lead up to 17, you cannot do that in a championship game. Credit DePue for being 21-1 and not having lost to an Illinois team."

Jarrett Bline and Trent Weldon tied for team-high honors with eight points for the Rockets.

Normally a zone team, DePue switched to a box-and-one defense, which held the R-B's leading scorer, guard Jake Weber, to zero points. He came in averaging 13.4 per contest.

Six-foot-six center Rahim McKee-Strong scored a game-high 13 points, as DePue won for the 19th straight time. The Little Giants' lone defeat came the day before Thanksgiving to Hillsboro (Mo.) in the Tournament of Champions at Washington.

Notes: The 25 points R-B scored were the lowest total in a championship since 1945 when Hopkins could muster but 23 in a 27-point loss to Toluca. Jordan Huschen and Jack Weber represented R-B on the league's all-tourney squad. McKee-Strong was joined by teammates Eddie Moreno, who surpassed 1,000 career points with a three in the final quarter, and Manny Winfert.

See article on Feb. 1 Woodford County Journal newsstands

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