Wesclin junior Nate Brede connected on his first four 3-point attempts and the Warriors used a balanced attack to dispose of Central 53-35 on Friday in a Cahokia Conference showdown.
Fresh off an impressive win over Red Bud on Tuesday, the Warriors (8-1, 2-1) thrilled a near-capacity crowd with a near-flawless performance in their final pre-Christmas tournament contest.
With Brede leading the way, Wesclin built a 17-11 lead after one quarter and the cold-shooting Cougars were never able to get on track against the Warriors’ strong man-to-man defense.
Senior Hunter Ottensmeier added six of his 11 points in the second quarter when the Warriors expanded their lead to 27-17.
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Central (4-4, 2-1) would get no closer than eight points in the final two quarters.
“It’s a big win. But they’re all big wins. We don’t play again now for a week (Pinckneyville Tournament), and so it’s nice to have a little momentum heading into the next week,” Warriors coach Brent Brede said. “We were balanced tonight, and when that happens it’s usually a sign we played one of our better games.
“Defensively, I thought we did a good job of guarding in the man-to-man.”
Nate Brede led the way for Wesclin with 14 points, all coming in the first half, while Ottensmeier added 13 and Mick Stephens added 11. But it was Nate Brede who got the Warriors off and running.
Nate Brede connected on 3-point shots 30 seconds apart midway in the first quarter as Wesclin took control. A conventional 3-point play from Ottensmeier followed by a 3-point basket by Stephens gave the Warriors the lead and momentum against a Central squad that committed six turnovers in the first two quarters.
Meanwhile, despite giving up several inches to Central’s 6-foot-9 senior Tyler Joest, the Warriors shut down the Cougars leading scorer. Joest scored 13 points, but only four in the first half.
“We just didn’t do a very good job against their man-to-man. I thought we rushed a little too much and our shot selection wasn’t the best,” Cougars coach Jeremy Shubert said. “On defense, we knew coming in that he (Nate Brede) was shooting over 60 percent from the 3-point line, and we gave him three wide open looks in the first quarter.
“We were down 10 points at halftime. But it could have been worse. We actually felt pretty good about that.”
But not for long. After the Cougars’ Simon Thomas scored to open the third quarter, the Warriors put the game away with 13-4 scoring run. Stephens keyed the run with four points, but three other Warriors also added baskets during the surge.