Southwestern was quick to get ahead Wednesday night against Quakerdale Prep Academy, rolling over the Eagles in a 73-49 final.
The Spartan men opened the game with a 7-0 run, giving themselves a cushion against a Quakerdale team that pushed back. The Eagles rallied back to make it 10-9, taking the lead, but SWCC three straight baskets to make it 15-10.
SWCC built on the lead, taking it to 28-12 , before the Eagles scored six straight to cut the deficit to 10 at 28-18.
The lead was enough for Southwestern to hold the lead at 33-26 into halftime with a resurgent Quakerdale finding its groove from the field and at the line before the horn.
A high intensity first half saw the Spartans flying all over the court early on.
“They just come out really excited and wanting to play high tempo,” said head coach Devin Kastrup. “I think a lot of it was caused by our defense. I thought a lot of those guys brought the energy defensively, which is what I did want. On the offensive end we had a lot of nervous energy and we wasted a lot of possessions there.”
The Spartans held the lead through the second half as the baskets fell, helping push SWCC to an eventual 73-49 final in front of a large home crowd on fan appreciation night.
Despite the big win, Southwestern had its fair share of possessions turn into turnovers across 40 minutes of play, something Kastrup noted comes from the team’s youth.
“We wasted a lot of possessions. We had 20 turnovers and that’s too many, we need to reduce those. I think that comes with time and experience,” said Kastrup. “I think our guys are still learning what college referees are going to do. We talk about it every day in practice, you can’t use you hands, and our guys are still pretty handsy. I’ll give them some credit, they play hard and are trying to execute it, but they’re still a step behind.”
The Spartans were led in scoring by Akeen Woods with 17 points. James Kelley had 14 points and Creshaun Brown had 11.
Foul trouble was also a sign of a team still growing into its college level shoes as the Spartans racked up 23 fouls.
“I think today, when you get four quick ones like Charles (Johnson) did, you’re going to have to sit on the bench and learn pretty quick what you can and cannot do. I think over time and over the season some of the calls will lighten up and the guys will learn what they can and cannot do to be successful,” said Kastrup.
With the season still early, there’s still work to be done for the Spartans in terms of executing the gameplan and playing a full 40 minutes before conference play opens up in two weeks.
“What I was worried about was were we going to continue to try and execute for a whole game and try to put together a complete game,” said Kastrup. “I don’t think we played a complete game in the first half, in the second half it was better, but I still think there’s too many lapses where when we do play an NJCAA team or a team in the top-25, that’s where we’ll be tested and we need to see if we can bring it.”
UP NEXT – The Spartans will next hit the floor Friday night, taking on Peru State JV at 7 p.m. in the fourth game of its five-game home stand.
Kastrup expects Peru to be flying around the floor Friday and has some adjustments and things to work on for the Spartans leading into the game.
“Mainly our passing and our footwork. We had a lot of turnovers of guys just stepping out of bounds and rushing with their feet,” said Kastrup. “Peru is going to try and play really fast, so trying to keep up with that tempo and play smart even though the possessions are going to be really high in the game.”
Southwestern 73, Quakerdale 43
QUAKE (49) — 26 23
SWCC (73) — 33 40
SOUTHWESTERN (FG FT PTS) — Totals — 29 6-13 73. James Kelley 14, Kyle Hawthorne 5, Charles Johnson 4, Creshaun Brown, 11, Donzell Johnson 7, Sebastian Zehnder 3, Demetrius Johnson 4, Akeen Woods 17, Noah Nichols 1, Manyiel Wugol 7. 3-point goals — 8 (Brown 3, Woods 2, Donzell Johnson 1, Zehnder 1, Wugol 1)
QUAKERDALE (FG FT PTS) — Totals —18 8-19 49. DeMarcus Tate 7, Mason Williams 4, Trey Drummond 6, Gavin Thompson 2, Keon Armstrong 6, Gary Wooten 6, Lateef Johnson 15, Malek Wesley 2, Jordan Brown 2. 3-point goals — 2.