Red hot start carries Northeast by Tipton

Northeast senior Grant Rickertsen goes up for a shot inside during the first quarter of Monday’s 2A District 8 quarterfinal against Tipton. Rickertsen led the Rebels with 20 points, scoring nine of them in the first quarter as Northeast shot out to a 19-2 lead in the opening stanza en route to a 71-50 victory over the Tigers.

CASCADE — The postseason represents the start of a new campaign for sports teams.

And the Northeast boys basketball team hopes its postseason matches the start it got off to during Monday’s 2A District 8 quarterfinal with Tipton.

The Rebels jumped all over the Tigers, wreaking havoc on the defensive end and turning those defensive stops into easy looks on offense.

The result was a 19-2 run to start the game, including a stretch of 17 straight points, that gave Northeast a lead it would not relinquish in a 71-50 victory.

The win sends the Rebels to Thursday’s district semifinal against 2A No. 4 Monticello.

Northeast struck first against the Tigers, picking up a Dakota Stevenson hoop inside, and then broke things open after Tipton countered with its first basket.

Rebels sophomore Cade Hughes broke the tie with a free throw and then continued to torment the Tigers with a three-pointer and then another hoop to make it 8-2.

Senior Grant Rickertsen added his own three, while Stevenson scored again to make it 13-2.

The lead continued to grow. Rickertsen followed Stevenson’s hoop with one of his own and then turned a Trey McAleer steal into a layup, forcing the second of two early timeouts for the Tigers.

Rickertsen, though, was not done, scoring his sixth straight point and ninth of the quarter to cap the Rebels’ 17-0 push.

Tipton did slow Northeast’s momentum by scoring the final six points of the opening stanza, but the Rebels seized control again in the second quarter.

Rickertsen opened the period with a three-point play and the Rebels knocked down three more threes from long distance — one each from Carter Pataska, Dawson Rickords and Hughes — in the frame.

The last three by Hughes gave Northeast its biggest lead of the first half — 36-17 — and the Rebels were up by 18 at the half.

Behind five early points from Stevenson and back-to-back hoops by Rickertsen and Judd Swanton, the Rebels pushed the lead to 22 in the third quarter.

The Tigers, however, clawed back, scoring the final nine points of the stanza to turn what had been a 51-31 deficit into an 11-point game heading to the fourth.

The Tigers got even closer after a three-pointer, but Northeast was not about to let things slip away.

Instead, the Rebels turned to Swanton inside and the junior responded by scoring six straight points. Rickertsen added a basket of his own and the eight-point push put the lead back at 18.

McAleer and Rickertsen added two late threes for good measure and the Rebels eclipsed 70 points for the third time this season.

Rickertsen shot 8-of-12 from the field and led all scorers with 20 points. Stevenson and Swanton joined in him double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively (the latter scored all of his points after halftime), while Hughes had nine and Pataska and McAleer seven.

Swanton added 14 rebounds for a double-double, while also dishing out three assists, coming up with two steals and blocking two shots.

Hughes grabbed seven boards, while McAleer dished out nine assists and came up with five steals. Rickertsen had four assists and three steals, while Stevenson joined Swanton with two steals.