SPRING VALLEY – The Mendota Trojans used a dominant defensive attack, especially in the game’s first half, to roll to a 63-40 victory over the Hall Red Devils Tuesday night, at Red Devil Gymnasium.
The Trojans got off to a very good start, holding the Red Devils to 3-9 shooting from the field, while tripling up on the hosts, 18-6, after eight minutes of play.
“They kind of made us look really bad,” said Hall coach Mike Filippini. “That was a big, strong 3A team, and we didn’t respond very well in the first half. Second half, I thought we played with a lot better effort. But you can’t (very easily) make up for the first half when you get down by 22 points.
“That’s probably the biggest team we’re going to see. We’re not going to see a team like that, that big, in 2A, and if we do, they’re going to be an awfully good team.”
Mendota netted another 10 hoops in the second quarter to help push in front by 22 points, 38-16, at the half.
“Our size really hurt them. We knew that from the get-go,” said Mendota coach Jan Thompson. “We just talked to our kids about pressuring the ball, and they had a hard time with ball pressure. And, then, No. 2, we really wanted to exploit the post, really ... really looking to get the ball inside. And they just didn’t have any answers for that.
“They are just a really small team right now. Mike has got them playing very hard. They just don’t have a lot of size right now.”
Meanwhile, Hall went just 3-15 from the floor in the second stanza, as Mendota actually held a 36-10 advantage with 1:51 to go in that frame.
Mendota twice led by as many as 30 points in the third quarter, and the Red Devils never got closer to the Trojans than the final margin of 23 points down the stretch.
“It was one of those nights where nothing went well, and we didn’t give a very good effort,” said Filippini. “And when you don’t give a very good effort against a good team, that’s what happens.
“The second half effort was obviously much better than the first half. The first half was not a very good effort, and I think everybody in the gym could see that.”
Roosevelt Fuentes led the Red Devils (7-16) by scoring nine points off the bench. Austin Schmitt added seven.
Hall senior sharp-shooter Brett Fanning was held to four points on the night on only 1-4 shooting, as Mendota’s larger size and defense effectively eliminated Fanning’s usual significant offensive presence.
“You’ve got to shut Fanning down. If you don’t shut Fanning down, he can go off for 40. I mean, he’s just that good a shooter. We played good defense on him. Evan Carroll locked it down. Mark Prescott came in and played good defense on him. It was a good team effort tonight.”
Mendota senior Trae Blumhorst connected on 10-12 shots en route to game-highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Trojans (15-9). Evan Carroll supplied 13 tallies
Mendota out-rebounded Hall, 38-30. Matt Boucher’s five caroms led the Red Devils.
• A.J. Gaeta’s 22 points paced the Red Demons to a narrow, 57-54, win in the prelim contest. Gaeta netted four of his team’s seven treys and scored nine of Hall’s 11 fourth-quarter points to hold off a late Mendota threat. Julian Barroso (15) and Grant Hill (10) also came up big offensively.
Krueger Keene’s 18 points led the younger Trojans, while Ryan Reeder added another 16.