The Aquinas boys basketball team has bolted to a 2-0 start with wins over Raymond Central and Shelby-Rising City.
Aquinas coach Kyle Eller said the Monarchs have performed well in two games but need some more polish.
“We've had a nice start to the season but still have so much to improve on,” Eller said. “We are still rusty in a lot of areas such as shooting and taking care of the ball at times. I feel like our energy level has been great but we need to have better poise and discipline in our system both offensively and defensively.”
On Dec. 1 the Monarchs traveled to Raymond Central and quickly overcame the resistance, winning 73-35 after a 19-3 first quarter.
Balance was the name of the Monarchs’ game. Seniors Kyle Ruth and Tyler Vavrina and junior Zach Zavodny led the Monarchs with 11 points apiece. Junior Dan Stara and senior Gavin Rech each added 10 and sophomore Braden Smith added 9.
Zavodny was 3-5 from beyond the arch; Stara was 2-2.
Mustangs improved their scoring in the second and third quarters but couldn’t slow down the Monarchs, who led 67-30 after three quarters. Both teams gave their reserves playing time to close out the game.
Dylan Thornburg led the Mustangs with 16 points, followed by Eddie Jaxon with 10 points.
Monarchs double up on Huskies
The Aquinas boys basketball team forced the Shelby-Rising City basketball team into 28 turnovers on its way to a 56-27 victory Saturday night in Shelby.
S-RC coach Grant Gable said the Monarch pressure was a challenge.
“Their press created a lot of fits for us,” he said. “They did a great job of applying constant pressure on our guards. I thought we did a decent job on the defensive end. We just couldn’t establish anything on the offensive end of the floor.”
The Monarchs doubled up the Huskies in every quarter, leading 31-15 at the half. The lead was extended by an 18-9 third quarter in favor of Aquinas.
The Monarchs were outrebounded defensively, but they also put up nearly twice as many shots as the Huskies, and they won the battle for steals 20-3. Players coming off the Aquinas bench accounted for 25 points.
Eller said the Monarchs will need to continue to improve.
“The guys have been putting forth great effort in practice the last few weeks and our depth has helped our practice quality as well,” Eller said.
This week, the Monarchs hosted Howells-Dodge (2-0) on Tuesday. The Jaguars came off a rout of Stanton and an opening win against Pierce. On Saturday, Aquinas hosts Archbishop Bergan (2-0) Bishop Neuman (2-0) comes to town on Dec. 12.
S-RC plays Giltner (2-0) on Friday at Shelby, and travels to Humphrey to play Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family (1-1) on Saturday.
December 2 at Shelby
Aquinas (2-0) 13 18 18 7 – 56
S-RC (1-1) 6 9 8 4 – 27
Aquinas: Zavodny 13, Vavrina 12, Stara 8, Ruth, Reiter 6, Smith 5, Rech 4
S-RC: Coffin 9, Hoatson, Belt 6, Pinneo 5
December 1 at Raymond Central
Aquinas 19 23 25 6 -73
R. Central 3 13 14 5 – 35
Scoring: Zavodny 11, Vavrina 11, Rech, 10, Stara 10, Smith 5, Jakub 5, Ruth 5. 3 pointers - Zavodny 3, Stara 2, Ruth, Vavrina, Rech, Smith, Jakub 1.
Rebounds - Stara 7, Smith 5
Assists – Smith 5, Rech 4, Hartman 3
Steals- Nadrchal, Rech 4, Stara 3, Vavrina 2