ORION — After a tight performance in Monday's boys' basketball season opener, the Orion Chargers tightened up their play on Wednesday and came away with their first victory.|
Sparked by a hot start from senior guard Dylan Schultz, the Chargers built an 11-point halftime lead, then used a huge third quarter to effectively put away Fulton 65-38 at the Orion Tip-Off Classic.
Knocking down three first-half 3-pointers, Schultz scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the first half to help Orion (1-1) break away from the Steamers (0-2) early and build a 30-19 halftime lead. Fulton had closed the gap to 19-11 early in the second period on a Matt Dail 3-ball, but the Chargers responded by scoring six of the next eight points.
"Dylan did a nice job of getting in the lane," said Orion coach Brent Hutton of Schultz, who also had six rebounds and three steals. "In fact, we joked that he could've had 50 points with some of the layups he missed.
"But Dylan's energy on the floor gave us a lift, and if people closed in on him, he kicked it out to the perimeter, and we knocked down some shots there. He created a lot of good things for us."
The Chargers drained seven 3-pointers, with Jason Marshall (nine points) adding a pair of treys to go with Schultz's four 3-balls. Adam Killion had the other trifecta, part of his nine-point third quarter that lit the fuse for a 22-7 showing by the hosts in that period.
"I thought our energy tonight was really good, and the kids were more comfortable," said Hutton. "We have a lot of people stepping on the floor for us who have not played a lot of varsity basketball, and we looked tight on Monday (a 43-35 loss to Knoxville). Overall, I was pleased with our effort."
For Fulton, senior John Widener turned in a solid effort, hitting on eight of 14 shots to finish with 17 points. Teammate Jake Willging added five rebounds and five points.
Titans move to 2-0: Keeping up with tournament leader Rockridge (2-0), the Monmouth-Roseville Titans also earned their second win in as many games with a 63-54 victory over the Kewanee Boilermakers (1-1).
The Titans outscored the Boilers 19-7 in the fourth quarter after a Matt Gustafson 3-pointer late in the third gave Kewanee a 47-44 edge.
Junior guard Martel Hunter scored seven of his game-high 22 points in the final period, and Mon-Rose helped itself by sinking eight of 11 free throws down the stretch. Liam Merritt and Joe Colclasure each added nine points.
"We came out a lot stronger, with better execution," said Hunter. "The first game, we know it's not going to be perfect, but we want to get better each night. It's a process, and chemistry, we're building it."
However, Kewanee freshman Donovan Oliver scored six of his 10 points in the first quarter to help the Boilermakers race out to a 10-2 start before taking a 17-9 lead into the second period. That's when Mon-Rose started to come to life, working its way to a 23-22 lead halfway through the quarter on a Will Myers bucket before a 9-2 run helped Kewanee to a 33-32 halftime edge.
"In situations like that, you can't freak out," Hunter said of Kewanee's fast start. "You've got to stay focused and play your game."
Led by senior guard Matt Gustafson's 22 points (including four 3-pointers) and 16 from fellow senior ball-handler Dayton Ince, who also knocked down three treys, the Boilers sparred back and forth with Mon-Rose throughout the third, with Gustafson's 3-ball with 52 seconds remaining breaking a 44-44 tie.
However, the Titans came out on fire to start the fourth, going on an 11-2 tear that included a run of nine straight points to take a 55-49 lead.
"I thought we came out and shot well early," said Kewanee coach Steve Salisbury. "We played with a lot of emotion, but we lost Jared Nimrick to an ankle injury early in the first, which hurt our rotation and played a part in us wearing down in the fourth quarter."