When East guard Jalen Love took a three-pointer from the left wing, the shot was pure, and the shot was true.
Less than a minute later, East guard Ja'ln Williams followed with a three from nearly the same spot with the same result.
It was easy to think then that the game at Northwest was East's, for when Love and Williams are hitting shots, the Aces are one of the state's dangerous teams.
East defeated Northwest 58-45, improving to 15-4 overall, 13-2 in the City League.
"Usually it starts with the guards, as Coach (Ron) Allen says," Williams said. "If the guards don't get the team in a rhythm, then it's not going to work out right."
Allen puts the pressure squarely on Williams. If Williams is playing well, he knows the rest of the Aces will, too. There have been times when Williams hasn't played well, though — specifically at Topeka's midseason tournament, where East finished fourth after struggling offensively against zone defenses.
Williams gladly accepts Allen's expectations.
"Being a senior and a four-year varsity player... it's not too much pressure for me," he said.
Williams scored nine first-quarter points against Northwest, hitting two straight three-pointers and converting a three-point play following a steal by Love.
At the end of the period, East had a comfortable 16-9 lead. After East took a 21-11 lead on a Larry Dennis basket, Northwest only got within double digits once.
Williams finished with 13 points, while Love had a team-high 15. Teammate Ronnie McFann had 10 rebounds, and Nathan Jackson had 10 points, seven rebounds.
The Aces hit 26 of 60 shots against Northwest's zone defense, including a span in the second quarter where they hit 7 of 9. They had six rebounds in that period, all offensive.
"We have spent an awful lot of time working on zone," Allen said. "I made a commitment when we left Topeka that that wasn't going to happen anymore. We're in a position on the floor that we feel comfortable that we can hit those shots."
Northwest didn't have the same positives offensively, hitting 18 of 46 shots.
While guard Craig Nicholson had 12 points, East never allowed him to drive the lane with his normal ease. He was 5 of 8 from the floor, including 2 of 4 from three-point range. Spenser Gales led Northwest with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Kendrick Miller had 11 rebounds.
But Northwest too often missed easy baskets inside. Williams blocked a fastbreak attempt early in the game, and shots that appeared to be good popped back out of the goal.
Worst of all, though, was the turnovers. Northwest had 11 at halftime.
"We just didn't play well," Northwest coach Chris Collins said. "Against top teams like that, you can't make mistakes, and we made a lot of them, unforced."
East (15-4, 13-2) 16 16 12 14—58 Northwest (12-7, 10-5) 9 10 14 12—45
EAST: Jackson 5 0-0 10, McFann 0 0-0 0, Melbert 1 0-0 2, Williams 5 1-3 13, Love 6 2-4 15, Johnson 1 0-0 2, Dennis 4 0-0 8, Terrell 1 0-0 2, Graham 3 0-0 6. Totals 26 (3) 3-7 58.
NORTHWEST: Johnson 3 0-1 7, Miller 1 1-2 3, Gales 6 5-6 16, Landenberger 1 0-0 2, Nicholson 5 0-0 12, Resko 1 0-0 3, Carter 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 (4) 5-9 45.