United Township's weakness in boys' basketball was Bettendorf's strength on Saturday night at Bettendorf High School.
Three of Bettendorf's juniors combined to score 40 points as the Bulldogs (13-0) defeated the Panthers 62-36 in a cross-river showdown.
UT (3-15)has no seniors onits roster; Bettendorfhas six. The Bulldogs youngest player is in the same class as UT's oldest. The Bulldogs have experience in areas where the Panthers don't.
"We keep ourselves in the game until we get a couple of bad breaks," UT coach Marc Polite said. "They go in a run and have kids hitting some timely shots. They're able to push the lead a little more. It's a learning process for our guys."
The Panthers were able to hang with Bettendorf in the first quarter, with the Bulldogs owning a 12-8 advantage.
"We have no experience and that's how we've approached this whole entire season," Polite said. "This is brand new to our guys.They have younger guys, but also have guys that have played for many years."
Bettendorf' had three players score at least 13 points. All three were juniors.
"We responded really well," Bulldogs coach Curtis Clark said. "UT did a great job pressuring us early on and getting a couple of turnovers. We have good basketball players. They put a lottime in the gym and they're good shooters. When they get open, they don't miss a lot."
Juniors Nick Baer and Dylan Sortillo scored 13 points each for Bettendorf. Cole Clearman collected team-highs of 14 points and eight rebounds.
"We came out a little slowly, but we responded to Coach after halftime, and we came back out and closed it out," Clearmansaid. "Dylan (Sortillo) and I have chemistry. We've played together since I started playing basketball."
UT leading scorer was Evan Spurgetis with seven points.
"There are stretches where we do things well," Polite said. "But, we also have stretches where we just can't keep up with them scoring. Any good basketball team is going to continue to score. Our issue is that we hit stretches where we struggle and that's where other teams push the leads."
Polite has been on both sides of this. He's had guys who made the tough shot in the past and now, where his team struggles to do so. Either way, the effort remains the same.
"Overall, I havevery fewcomplaints about our effort this year," Polite said. "Game one to game now, our kids always play hard. I think that's why, in time, we're just waiting to improve.It's justa matter of us understanding what to do and going out and competing. That's what we're trying to do every night."