Another forced turnover led to another fast break, and this time Maize South’s Alex Martin was at the front.
The 6-foot-7 senior had the speed to stay ahead of a pair of guards and more than enough elevation to leave them behind with a one-handed dunk with a minute left in the first quarter of the Mavericks’ 76-43 over visiting Campus on Friday night.
Maize South ran away with the game after a near-flawless start. The Mavericks led 22-4 after Logan Mormando’s fadeaway 3-pointer beat the first-quarter buzzer. The remaining three quarters weren’t as lopsided, but they didn’t need to be to give Maize South an easy win.
“We came prepared. We came out ready to play,” senior forward Kade Kordonowy said. “We watched a lot of film, and we emphasized defense. That’s something we’ve done in practice – high energy defense.”
A smothering full-court press limited Campus to four points on 2 of 8 shooting in the first quarter. The Colts were held to 37 percent shooting from the field for the game.
“We’ve not been a team that feeds off our defense,” Maize South coach Kip Schultz said. “But we’re starting to, and that’s what we’re preaching. We are working on defense at least 80 percent of our practice every day, and so it’s starting to pay off.”
The Mavericks (2-0) enjoyed a style of play that forced the issue on defense yet found better offensive success with a slower pace. Martin and 6-foot-5 forward Cole Koster didn’t have a size advantage against Campus’ 6-8 center Victor Haefeli and 6-6 forward Chace Howard, but Martin and Koster owned the paint.
The two combined for 25 points and held Howard and Haefeli to 6.
“We’re big too; we’re just not tough enough,” first-year Campus coach Chris Davis said. “We played soft as butter inside. Without question we were soft. We didn’t go after the ball like they did.”
With the inside game established, Maize South senior Kade Kordonowy was free to roam on offense. The 6-4 small forward hit 9 of 16 shots for a game-high 25 points despite sitting out the entire fourth quarter.
Ten of Kordonowy’s points came in the game’s first seven minutes. After a 38-17 halftime lead, Kordonowy slammed home an alley-oop pass from Mormando to highlight a 10-1 run that put the game out of reach.
Maize South shot 50 percent (26 for 52) as a team and hit 20 of 28 free throws.
Campus (1-1) won the fourth quarter 19-16, but it wasn’t nearly enough to make up the early deficit. When the Mavericks pressed, the Colts failed to handle the pressure.
“We weren’t ready for center stage yet.” Davis said. “We didn’t do what we needed to do to get the ball where it’s supposed to be on the floor to make it easy. We made it hard on ourselves all night long. We’re breaking habits, and when something goes wrong we can’t revert back.”