BOONVILLE - Coming into Starmount’s matchup with East Wilkes Tuesday night, the Rams’ MO has been falling behind early and playing catch-up.
Starmount flipped the script against the Cardinals Tuesday, pouring in 29 first-quarter points to take a commanding lead early before cruising to the 60-43 victory in their first home game since early December.
“Tonight was one of our most solid games all around,” head coach Rocky Horton explained. “We took care of the basketball, we only had four turnovers at halftime, which is really good for us being a young team. Solid defense. All 11 guys really contributed to a great win tonight.
“Earlier in the season, we would dig ourselves into a hole early, so we’ve been working on trying to get a jump off the get-go. We did a good job of that tonight. That’s what we’ve been wanting to do and we did a heck of a job,” he added.
In an explosive opening quarter, the Rams used a 19-6 run over the final 4:35 to jump out to a 29-18 lead at the end of the first. In the run, sharpshooter Gunner Cass knocked down three treys, including a fade-away three at the buzzer, for 11 first-quarter points.
Starmount turned up the intensity on the defensive side of the floor, limiting East to just seven points in the second to take a comfortable 39-25 lead into the locker room.
The Rams held serve in the third, while running down the clock, matching each Cardinal run to head to the fourth up 50-35.
In the fourth, Starmount ran down the clock to preserve the 60-43 win, their second Mountain Valley Conference victory of the season.
With the win, Horton said he is looking for the team to build on the victory moving forward to their second-half slate.
“That’s the idea,” he said. “We want to protect our home court and this was the first time back on our floor since early December. Our guys have been itching for it. We have to work on carrying the momentum over from a win to the next game. We’re working on building momentum.”
Cass paced the Rams’ offense with a game-high 16 points, while Luke Shore tacked on 11. Zach Worley finished with nine points on the night, while Nathan WIlliams added six.
Avery Wallis paced the Cardinals with 15 points, while McKinley Johnson added nine. Abram Logan tacked on seven.
At the halfway mark of the conference schedule, Starmount sits at 2-6 in league play, while East is 3-5.
Both squads return to action tonight with the Rams heading up the mountain to take on West Wilkes, while the Cardinals travel to East Bend to battle Forbush.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.