ANDOVER – Maize South’s boys followed a familiar formula Friday night in its 60-46 season-opening victory over host Andover High.
Point guard Payten Ricks – the Mavericks’ only underclassmen starter – executed the game plan, and the other four senior starters responded. The Mavericks took a 25-18 halftime lead, then outscored the Trojans 20-13 in the third quarter for a 45-31 lead.
Andover showed some life in the final period, but by that time, Maize South was ahead comfortably and thwarted the comeback.
Senior Kade Kordonowy scored eight of his game-high 21 points in the third quarter, allowing the Mavericks to gain some distance.
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That was somewhat needed in the fourth quarter, but even with the late comeback, Andover could not do any better than remaining even with Maize South for the quarter.
Fouls also slowed down both teams, as the Trojans were whistled 35 times, but the Mavericks also committed 20 fouls. This led to Maize South shooting 40 free throws, hitting 24.
The victory, although not perfection, still pleased Maize South coach Kip Schultz.
“I felt like we finally accomplished some of our goals,” he said. “Obviously, we need to work on free throws and boxing out. But other than that, if we hit all of our layups, we’d probably have a pretty good 15- to 20-point win.”
Schultz said that Ricks’ contributions were a key in the triumph.
“I thought Payten Ricks was probably player of the game for us for all the things he does for us that are (not in the stat sheet),” he said. “Running the show, getting an open look when we need an open look. I thought he played super. We’re pleased.”
Schultz also praised his senior starters for their play. He said a key was Cole Koster’s steal and dunk with 5:10 before halftime. That play gave the Mavericks their first 10-point lead of the game, and the Trojans didn’t get any closer than eight the rest of the way.
“I still think if you look at the stats, we probably missed 10-11 layups,” Schultz said. “If we hit those, it probably would have been a better game.”
Much of that could be tied to a physical Andover defense, even though the Trojans often paid the price with fouls.
Ricks said the team was confident and showed the benefits of off-season workouts.
“Everybody improved in the off-season,” he said. “Cole Koster and Alex Martin changed a lot of their shots, so I wanted to give credit to them.”
Schultz said the victory made for a good starting point.
“We’ve got a lot of room to grow,” he said. “I just felt like for once, when we walked on the floor, we knew who we were and what we needed to accomplish. If we don’t miss free throws and we don’t miss layups, we’re pretty good.”
Maize South – Koster 9, Ricks 10, Jennings 3, Mormando 6, Kordonowy 21, Martin 5, Lee 3, Reichenberger 3.
Andover – Renoux 7, Norlin 2, A. Brown 9, Butler 13, Seabrook 1, Short 5, Hammar 2, Oberg 5, Kellerman 2.