By Andy Krutsinger, Golden Triangle News Service
MT. PLEASANT ? The Washington boys? basketball team couldn?t overcome a red-hot start from No.6 Mt. Pleasant on Friday as the Panthers ran past the Demons 82-49.
The first quarter was highlighted by a fierce Mt. Pleasant press that forced a handful of Washington tournovers and led to open hosts for the offense. Jordan Magnani came out of the gate firing and scored 11 points in the first period as the Panthers jumped out to a 25-4 lead after one quarter.
Washington found themselves in a big hole after the first eight minutes, but the Demons did play with Mt. Pleasant in the second quarter. A nine-point second quarter from Brady Sartorius helped the Panthers outscore the Demons 23-19 in the second quarter. Dalton Myers had six points in the first half to lead Washington, but Mt. Pleasant still led 48-23 at the break.
The Panthers continued to score in the second half. Mt. Pleasant outscored Washington 21-13 in the third quarter to take a 39-36 lead into the final period. The two teams split the fourth quarter, scoring 13 points apiece.
?I thought our ball movement in the first half, first quarter especially,? Mt. Pleasant head coach Paul Rundquist said. ?That was critical and it carried us through the rest of the ballgame. We want to continue to play that style of ballgame for 32 minutes and not just eight.?
Sartorius ended the night with 25 points to lead the team, and also finished with four steals. Those four steals put him at 216 for his career, which broke the Mt. Pleasant school record for career steals in boys? basketball. The previous record had been in place for over 40 years.
?Brady is a good defender but we?ve got a team of pretty darn solid defenders,? said Coach Rundquist. ?To break a record like that, you?ve got to play a lot of basketball.That?s a record that goes back to 1974, so that?s a great accomplishment.?
Magnani scored 23 points and led the team with six steals. Jonathan Ita had 10 points and five rebounds, and Kieran Kohorst finished with eight points and five rebounds.
Maison Ashton scored seven points in the win. Rhett Zeglen had four. Sam Beatty scored three, and Colin Mulford finished with two.
Washington head coach Collin Stark talked after the game about the struggle dealing with the Panther press.
?Those guys have been playing varsity and starting for four years now, so they?ve got the experience and they?ve mastered that system,? Stark said. ?It?s just not letting yourself get beat up against that pressure. We struggled with that in the first quarter and then finally started to settle down and just play.?
Redlinger finished the night with 13 points to lead the Demons. Dalton Myers had eight. Trashaun Willis scored seven points including a couple of dunks. Luke Turner scored six points. Cale Hobscheidt had five. Jacob Van Osdol and Levi Baumert scored three apiece and the duo of Cade Hennigan and Blake Hartzler finished with two each.
See game photos in Tuesday?s edition.
The Panthers used a strong defensive performance to gain a first half lead and held off a Washington rush early in the second half to top the Demons 44-30.