GUYS MILLS — The Maplewood Tigers defended their home gym pretty well right from the jump.
The Tigers made not only shooting tough for the visiting Muskies, but just getting the ball up the floor. Maplewood forced 11 turnovers in the first quarter and burst out to a 20-4 lead.
They never looked back.
On Tuesday night at the Wood Shed, Maplewood cruised to a 70-48 win over non-region opponent Jamestown in a boys basketball game.
“(We wanted to) get after them,” said Maplewood head coach Shawn Rhoades. “We knew that, at least we hoped that we were going to be able to turn them over and get the game up-tempo.”
Maplewood improves to 5-9 on the year while Jamestown drops to 5-9 overall.
“It’s a good win. We needed it,” added Rhoades. “Probably worse than anyone around, we needed one.”
Off a two-game skid, the pressure was amplified for Maplewood right from the start. Jonathan Nageotte scored first on a putback and after a turnover, Joel Cox dished the ball over to Huston Mattocks for a trey in the corner.
“Just not handling the pressure. Guys not coming to meet the ball,” said Jamestown head coach Luke Widger. “And we got to work on our spacing because it was a zone press. We got to learn how to find the open spots. We just have to improve in all areas.”
After, Maplewood made it 9-0, Jamestown finally broke through with a turnaround hook by Darian Keyser.
However, the turnovers kept piling up for the Muskies leading to easy transition hoops at the other end. Clay Cox ripped the ball loose and found Joel streaking to the hoop for the 13-4 lead. Mattocks scored again and Gage Bahle added five off the bench for a 20-4 lead after one.
“The thing is we just got to come ready to play. It’s just about doing the simple things really,” said Widger. “Our defense starts to let us down and we give up a few turnovers and it just goes haywire.”
Jamestown responded well and opened up the second stanza with 10 straight points sparked by 3-pointers from Josh Hill and Cameron Keyser. Darian Keyser also factored in with an inside bucket to make it 20-14.
However, the Tigers bounced back quick and Joel Cox helped them close out the quarter with a 22-6 run. He hit 5 of 7 in the quarter to bring his halftime total to 14. He finished with 20 points on the night to lead the Tigers.
“His head was up. He was driving with a purpose and the first purpose was looking,” said Rhoades. “He did a good job there and what that does is it opens up him to be able to score as well because now they can’t commit to you.”
Maplewood expanded its advantage in the third by not easing up on defense and utilizing a balanced attack at the other end. Seven different Tigers scored in the third and on the flip side, Jamestown only managed three field goals as the deficit grew to 58-32.
“That was a good, physical defense. They were all over us,” said Widger. “They played hard, they definitely deserved that win.”
Maplewood was able to roll to the win without much drama at the end. After Cox, Mattocks tallied 14 and Nageotte finished with 10 points.
For Jamestown, Darian Keyser finished with 20 points. He went to the charity stripe often and went 8 for 14 there. Christopher Atkins scored eight off the bench and Josh Hill recorded seven points.
Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.