The Howe Bulldogs hung tough with the Sunnyvale Raiders throughout most of the first quarter, but the District 12-2A champions and a top-20 state-ranked team had too much firepower as they cruised to a 72-31 win in Anna on Feb. 17.
The two teams were meeting in a Region 2, bi-district round game.
Sunnyvale got off to a 9-0 start, throwing in a pair of 3-pointers and using a smothering 2-2-1 full-court press to stymie the Bulldog attack.
Levi Mrozinski stopped the run with a 12-foot jumper from the right elbow and after a pair of stellar defensive plays by Brice Harvey, Michael Kehrer sent in a 3-ball to cut the Raider lead to just four.
Harvey blocked a shot attempt by Dillon Paschall, then took a charge deep in the paint to wipe-out a Sunnyvale basket.
John Jacob Talley dropped in a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, cutting the Sunnyvale lead to 10-8 before Josh Quinn drained a 3-pointer from the right side for the Raiders. Quinn finished with 19 points to lead all scorers.
Two makes from the free-throw line by Griffin Underwood made it a 15-10 Sunnyvale lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Raiders were quicker and more accurate shooters and that combination led to a 13-0 run to open the second quarter.
With just over two minutes left in the period, Nick Wilson made a nice pass to Kehrer on the baseline for Howe’s first basket of the second period. Kehrer scored again, taking a pass from Easton Ross and a Mrozinski bucket at the buzzer sent the teams to the break with the Raiders on top, 31-16.
The two teams traded points in the early minutes of the third period. Howe got baskets from Ross, Kehrer and Mrozinski to open the second half, but Sunnyvale was matching that offensive surge.
The Raiders went on another run to build their lead to 26 before Wilson ball-faked his defender and scored on a floater from just outside the paint.
Now there’s no question about it, I am old-school when it comes to sports in general and basketball in particular. Old school as in ridiculously short shorts, Chuck Taylor All-Star shoes and all that goes with that era.
Somehow I missed the memo about how to play the game when your team is up by 30.
The Raiders, leading 56-27, were tossing up the 3-pointers and keeping up their full-court pressure as the fourth period began, and with all five starters on the floor.
Guess that’s the way the game is played now.
The Raiders advance to play either Brock or Grandview, and since re-alignment Howe will not have to deal with them again.
Howe 10 6 10 5 — 31
Sunnyvale 15 16 19 22 — 72
Howe: Michael Kehrer 9,Levi Mrozinski 6, John Jacob Talley 5, Griffin Underwood 4, Easton Ross 4, Nick Wilson 2, Brice Harvey 1