SWEET SPRINGS — The Sweet Springs boys basketball team shot over Otterville’s zone defense on its way to a 69-44 win over the Eagles on Tuesday night.
The Greyhounds (10-4) hit 27 of 59 from the field and 10 of 16 from 3-point range to turn what had been a 10-point lead just before the half into a 25-point victory.
“My best shooting night by fair,” said Sweet Springs guard Jacob Schowengerdt, who scored 30 points. “I was able to find open areas in their 2-3 zone and attack gaps or catch and shoot.”
Schowengerdt hit four 3-pointers in the first half alone, and Jeffery Hall hit three more. Hall finished the game with 17 points. The Greyhounds often get most of their scoring in transition, but, on Tuesday, found most of their points in the half-court offense.
“We don’t have a whole lot of post play. It’s a lot of guard play, but we depend on our guards to attack the basket and make things happen,” Schowengerdt said. “Most teams play us man, so it’s hard to find open shots. If a team runs a 2-3 zone, we like to find open looks.”
Otterville (3-11) kept the game close in the second quarter through free throw shooting and Justin Halgren. The 6-3 senior center scored 18 points in the first half, and the Eagles shot 9 of 14 at the free throw line, including a pair of free throws by Halgren.
“He’s the one we want to get involved if we possibly can,” said Otterville coach Steve Lasman. “I thought our kids played well. This is a good team that shoots the ball very well, and they don’t just have one kid who can shoot, they have multiple guys who can shoot. I thought our kids played well. That’s hard to say when you get beat by 20 points, but we’re young.”
Halgren’s eight baskets from the field in the first half all came in the paint, but the Greyhounds limited him to six points in the second half after switching from a 2-3 zone to a 3-2 with Hall and Schowengerdt in the post against him.
“It got them off guard,” Hall said. “We doubled him in the post a lot more in the second half.”
Otterville starts two freshmen and a sophomore with another freshman seeing significant playing time.
“Give their young guards credit. We thought we could pressure them a lot in the first half, and they handled it for the most part,” said Sweet Springs coach Tim Smith.
The pressure eventually got to the Otterville guards in the third quarter, as Sweet Springs opened the second half, forcing three turnovers in the first four possessions that led to baskets by Hall and Schowengerdt to extend the lead to 50-29. The Eagles got a basket in the paint by Halgren and another on a drive by Haden Angel before a pair of Schowengerdt 3-pointers, a basket by Hall and a Nathan Vogelsmeier layup made it 60-35.
Sweet Springs had another run late in the first quarter and early in the second to build the lead. After a Halgren basket in the paint put Otterville ahead 10-8, the Greyhounds went on a 25-5 run, forcing six Eagle turnovers. On the offensive end, the Greyhounds got a pair of layups from Vogelsmeier to start the run, and Schowengerdt followed by hitting a 3-pointer from one corner, then following that with a 3-pointer from the other. Moments later, Hall added a 3-pointer of his own.
“The other kids with our motion against that zone did a good job of finding them against that zone,” Smith said. “Jacob or Jeffery would give it up, and eventually we would find them coming back around off a cut or a screen.”
Down 33-15, the Eagles began to fight their way back, first getting a pair of baskets inside from Halgren, then getting one from Franklin Oswald on a drive to cut the lead to 33-25.
Otterville was still within 10 until the final minute of the half when Hall hit a 3-pointer, and Sweet Springs put the game away early in the third.
“We lost to a very good team,” Lasman said. “I’m proud of our kids.”