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MENDOTA — The undefeated Winnebago boys basketball team used strong shooting early Friday night to set the stage for a 73-56 win over Mendota in Big Northern Conference West Division action.
The Indians connected on 21-of-35 first-half field goal attempts to claim a 48-27 lead at halftime and held on in the second half to improve to 5-0 on the season and 1-0 in BNC West play.
“I felt like we played decent defense, but sometimes better offense just happens — there’s nothing you can do about it,” said MHS coach Jan Thompson, whose squad fell to 5-2 with the loss and 1-1 in league contests.
The Trojans hung with Winnebago early, and pulled to within one point at 9-8 on a transition basket in the lane from sophomore point guard James Carroll with 4:45 left in the first quarter.
But Indian junior forward Ryan Swigart answered with a solo seven-point run of a 3-pointer and pair of baskets to push the lead to 18-8 with 2:50 to play and Winnebago led 24-15 after the first quarter.
The second quarter was more of the same as Winnebago — led by seven points in the frame from sophomore forward Dylan Menke — outscored the Trojans 24-12 to take a 21-point lead at intermission.
The Indians’ advantage never fell below 15 in the second half as the Indians held on for the win.
Four Indians registered double-digit scoring led by 14 points apiece from Swigart and Menke. Senior guard Matt Reinke added 13 points for Winnebago, while senior guard Jocoby Posley chipped in with 10.
“They’re extremely deep. I was taking with coach (Joe) Murphy before the game and he said this might be one of the deepest teams he ever had. That’s saying a lot because he’s been around a long time. They’ve got a lot of kids who can play. That’s a really good team,” Thompson said.
Senior Trae Blumhorst led the way for Mendota with 19 points, including eight in the first quarter. James Carroll added 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds for the Trojans, while junior guard Mark Prescott, junior forward Jake Rod and senior center Austin O’Sadnick had six points apiece.
Thompson said the Trojans would try to take some lessons from the loss, but wouldn’t have a lot of time to ruminate on the blowout with games upcoming Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Hall’s Colmone Classic.
“The press that they threw on us, that’s only going to help us down the road. I know we’re going to see some presses from Rock Falls, possibly Stillman Valley and definitely from Rockford Lutheran,” said Thompson, whose squad gave up 15 turnovers. “(Dealing with) that press is just going to make James (Carroll) and Evan (Carroll) become better ball handlers.”
Note: Winnebago won the sophomore game 52-48.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at email@example.com Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
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