It was a strenuous start to the week for the Maryville boys basketball players as they participated in atypical back-to-back nights with games Feb. 10-11.
The Spoofhounds (9-8) began the two-game stint Feb. 10 when Savannah rolled into Maryville. The matchup carried some weight as the Spoofhounds were looking to even their conference record at 2-2. They eventually did that with a 54-42 win over Savannah.
The Savages were looking to spoil the home team’s advantage, jumping to a slim 15-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Senior guard Tate Oglesby came out with a mindset of scoring and revived his team in the second quarter, pushing Maryville to a 27-21 lead heading into halftime.
Oglesby finished with 18 points, which was good enough for a game-high. He connected on six of his shots and went 5-for-6 from the line.
Savannah relied heavily on its junior guard Wes Darnell to keep within striking distance. Darnell finished with 16 points to lead all Savannah scorers.
The consistent scoring of junior forward Ben Walker and freshman guard Caden Stoecklein surged Maryville ahead in the fourth quarter, ultimately leading to the Spoofhounds accomplishing the goal that they set out to attain before the game.
Walker finished with 13 points, with all of his shots coming inside the arc. Stoecklein captured 9 points and was perfect from the line. Maryville evened its conference record at 2-2 and jumped over 50% with an overall record of 9-8.
Coach Matt Stoecklein was impressed with his team playing with high basketball IQ.
“Savannah is always a team that is going to bring their best effort and a mix of zone and man,” Matt Stoecklein said. “It was important for our players to recognize what they were in and to start making better decisions on offense.”
Maryville did not get a lot of time to celebrate with the quick turnaround of games. The ’Hounds were back in action less than 24 hours later against Cameron (6-15).
Junior center Marc Gustafson, who faced constant action in the paint, said the back-to-back action wasn’t affecting him.
“My body is good,” Gustafson said. “Coach tells us to rest a lot and eat healthy, and I’ve been following that.”
For spectators, it wasn’t noticeable the Spoofhounds played a game the night before as they went on a 10-0 run in the first four minutes of the game. The quick start was led by Oglesby and Caden Stoecklein hitting a 3-pointer, along with Trey Houchin and Gustafson each recording 2 points.
Cameron called a timeout, receiving a demand from its head coach to lock down on the mirage of shooting the Spoofhounds were displaying. The timeout calmed the nerves of the Dragon players, and they tied the score at 10 in less than two minutes.
The lapse on defense led Matt Stoecklein to call a timeout of his own to reenergize his team on the defensive end.
“I told them they have to play defense,” Matt Stoecklein said. “They didn’t feel our pressure at all. They had the ball and they didn’t even know we were there. They could shoot and do whatever they wanted to.”
The Maryville defense picked up its game in the second quarter. The Spoofhounds were in the passing lanes, which led to steals and transition scores. The Spoofhounds were also pressing their opponents, allowing no drives for the Dragons.
Maryville headed into the half with a 32-20 lead. After scoring 13 points in the first quarter, Cameron was held to seven points in the second.
Gustafson came out with tunnel-vision in the second half as he used his size advantage against the small lineup of the Dragons. He led the way with 12 points and was sent to the line seven times.
Matt Stoecklein said they wanted to take advantage of the height Cameron brought on the court.
“They don’t have a tremendous amount of size, so we’re trying to get Marc going, because if we can get him scoring inside, that opens up things on the outside,” Matt Stoecklein said. “He’s starting to finish much better and hit a lot of free throws.”
Maryville also brought a different approach to this game, hoping to avoid players losing energy after playing the night before.
“Tonight we tried to play more kids,” Matt Stoecklein said. “We tried to play eight to nine kids, and we told the players to go hard for three minutes then know you have a sub coming.”
Gustafson’s putbacks, kick out baskets and rested players allowed Maryville to run away with the game, winning 55-33.
Oglesby finished with 11 points, including an alley-oop tip-in. Senior guard Tylan Perry followed closely behind Oglesby with 10 points. However, Gustafson stole the spotlight.
“Just posting up and basic post moves really helped me tonight,” Gustafson said. “Just being physical was huge.”
Matt Stoecklein is hoping this strong performance from his big-man will increase his confidence.
“He just needs to keep growing and going up strong,” Matt Stoecklein said. “We still have some things to work on with him, like going up towards the rim as we’ve really been trying to break his habit of going away from the rim. His confidence will continue to grow and we’ll use him more in the year.”
Maryville now stands at 10-8 overall and 3-2 in the MEC. Matt Stoecklein was pleased to pick up two conference wins to start off the week.
“Two big wins where moments we looked really well, moved the ball really well and played really well,” Matt Stoecklein said. “It feels really good.”