For the Nashville Hornets, success begins and ends on the defensive end of the basketball court.
Just ask the Wesclin Warriors, who were held to three points in the final three quarters of a 46-12 loss to the undefeated Hornets Wednesday at the Wesclin Tip-off Classic.
Senior Bryce Bultman combined with junior Carson Parker for 24 points and held Warriors senior standout Nate Brede to six points as the Hornets (3-0) moved a win away from clinching the season opening round-robin event.
“Playing good defense is something we take a lot of pride in and work at every night in practice,’’ Bultman said. “Tonight the key was trying to contain Nate (Brede) who is a very good offensive player. We tried to stay with him and double team him when we had the opportunity.’’
Playing good defense at Nashville is mandatory under coach Wayne Harre, a respected girls high school coaches before taking over as the Hornets boys coach prior to the 2017-18 season.
After finishing 23-8 and reaching the Class 2A sectional semifinals a year ago, the Hornets defense has been near flawless in the first week of the season. In its three wins, Nashvile has allowed just 62 points.
“I thought we did a good job on defense tonight,’’ Harre said. “We came out and hit some shots early which I thought was a key but I still think we can play better on the defensive end than what we did tonight. As a coach you hope you’re not playing your best early in the season.
“We’ve still got work to do on defense. We can play better.’’
With Bultman, a News-Democrat first team all-area selection a year ago, the Hornets jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the opening five minutes. Brede, whose 35-point effort on Monday sparked a Warriors win over Mascoutah, hit three straight 12-15 foot jumpers as Wesclin closed to within 22-9 after one quarter.
But the Warriors (1-2) would manage only one field goal, a 3-point jumper by Cameron Brandmeyer with 4 minutes 21 seconds left in the third quarter, the rest of the night.
“It’s great to be 3-0. Hopefully we can come out on Friday, beat Mascoutah and have a perfect start to the season,’’ said Bultman, who will attend McKendree University next year. “We want to show teams that we’re going to be a tough team to beat this year.’’
In the opening game on Wednesday, Columbia, getting 16 points each from Jon Peterson and Cole Khoury, defeated Waterloo 60-39.