It was a successful night for three of the four area teams Monday on the first day of the Colmone Classic at Hall High School in Spring Valley.
Mendota opened the tournament with a 72-59 victory over St. Bede, Fieldcrest followed with a 67-33 rout of Stark County and the host Red Devils capped the night with a 73-56 victory over Quest.
Mendota, the defending Colmone champion, is 1-0 in the White Pool and will face Bureau Valley at 6:30 tonight. St. Bede will face the Hall JV team at 5 tonight and Fieldcrest, which is 1-0 in the Red Pool, will play Quest at 8 tonight.
Mendota 72, St. Bede 59
After being routed by Winnebago on Friday in a Big Northern Conference West Division game, Mendota coach Jan Thompson was pleased with how his team bounced back Monday.
“We kind of got back to our staple, back to the way we need to play tonight,” Thompson said. “I felt like against Winnebago we didn’t play our game. … That was a big focus tonight was to come in and play our game, get the ball up and down the floor, attack the basket and play great man-to-man defense. I thought we did a really nice job of that tonight.”
The game was tied after the first quarter, but the Trojans outscored the Bruins 22-14 in the second quarter to take a 37-29 halftime lead.
“We were changing our presses a bunch,” Thompson said. “That’s the big thing. We didn’t stay in one thing the whole time. We kept switching it up and kept them off balance. … They really have two guys who are big scorers (Jarret Olson and Jack Brady). Jarret Olson had a nice game, but I thought if we could shut one of the two down, we could eventually pull away, which we did.”
Olson finished with 20 points, while Brady scored eight, which Thompson credited to Ryan Reeder’s defense.
Reeder also carried the Trojans (6-2) on offense as he poured in a game-high 26 points, while teammate James Carroll added 17.
The Bruins (3-3), who haven’t played since Dec. 3, made a few pushes and pulled as close as six points at 55-49 with 7:16 left, but Mendota responded with a 15-4 run to go up 70-53 with 3:09 left.
“We didn’t get enough rebounds and didn’t defend,” St. Bede coach Mike Kilmartin said. “We had a couple nice fast breaks, but every time we’d get within striking distance, we didn’t get any second shots and we gave them a lot of offensive rebounds and easy baskets.”
Fieldcrest 67, Stark County 33
With no seniors on the roster, the Knights have had some growing pains early in the season, but Fieldcrest coach Matt Winkler saw some positive signs Monday.
“We really showed some signs of growth tonight, especially from our sophomores” Winkler said. “We’re still searching for some things, but tonight was a good night.”
The Knights jumped on the Rebels early behind 10 points from Ryan Barth in the first quarter.
Barth knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, including one with 12.6 seconds left in the period, to give Fieldcrest a 19-8 lead after eight minutes.
“We just started the season in a little bit of a shooting slump, but tonight right from the get go I could tell we shot the ball better,” Winkler said. “We got more confidence. We’re just catching and shooting like you should be. We did a better job of that.”
Fieldcrest also limited Stark County’s offense with effective pressure. The Rebels made 13-of-32 shots.
“We are just trying to get better defensively,” Winkler said. “We are really putting an emphasis on our defense. We haven’t played that great of defense in the first four games. We just need some games. We’re a very inexperienced team.”
Barth finished with 19 points for the Knights (2-3).
Hall 73, Quest 56
Before the game, Hall coach Mike Filippini stressed to his team to attack the basket.
The Red Devils didn’t follow that plan very well in the first half and the result was a slim 29-23 advantage at the break.
So Filippini reiterated his pre-game instructions at halftime.
The Red Devils (3-4) got the message this time and the result was a 44-point second half and an easy victory.
“We did not play very well in the first half. We had 13 turnovers, four missed layups and six missed free throws,” Filippini said. “We could have made it a lot easier on ourselves if we would have finished those off, but we did a lot better job in the second half.
“We kept telling them to take the ball to the basket, make the referees call fouls and get to the line, and then we could set our press up. They did a great job.”
Miguel Villarreal scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half, while Collin Aimone scored 11 of his 19 points in the final two quarters.
“I thought Miguel did a great job. He really got beat up, but he kept going back,” Filippini said. “I thought Aimone did a great job taking it to the basket. Austin Schmitt hasn’t played since the first game — he broke his elbow in the Mendota game and it was his first game back — and I thought he did a real nice job of using his long arms, especially in the press.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.