ALTON — The Marquette Catholic Explorers certainly experienced a happy Prairie State Conference opener on Friday night against the Nokomis Redskins at Marquette.
The Explorers (4-2, 1-0 PSC) trounced the Redskins 54-30. They wasted little time in establishing dominance.
Reagan Snider’s basket at the 2:49 mark in the first quarter gave Marquette a 10-4 advantage. Snider’s four-point play at the 1:57 mark gave MCHS a 14-4 lead and Trevon Collins’ three-point play at the 1:28 mark gave Marquette a 17-4 advantage.
The Explorers led 17-6 at the end of the first quarter. Marquette continued its dominance in the second quarter and led 29-8 at halftime.
The Explorers turned in a fine shooting performance from inside and outside in the first two quarters, as Snider posted one trey and senior guard Shandon Boone posted two in the first half.
“Our staple has been that we play defense really well,” Marquette head coach Steve Medford said. “We haven’t gotten away from that, but we haven’t shot the ball particularly well in the couple of losses that we’ve had. Tonight we came out and shot the ball a little bit better. When you make some shots then everyone’s energy goes up. Reagan hit some shots early and Boone got going a little bit. It was a spark for us, but what won us the game was how well we defended and rebounded.”
The Explorers played a full-court defense in much of the first half.
“We pressed them a little bit,” Medford said. “It’s something we worked on this week. We wanted to create some opportunities for some easy baskets. We’ve been struggling offensively as a group so we wanted to get some easy baskets and we did that by speeding them up a little bit and creating a few turnovers and getting some buckets in transition.”
Boone led the Explorers’ offense with 21 points. Senior center Ben Sebacher threw in 10. Marquette went 16 for 28 from the field and 16 for 20 from the free-throw line.
The Explorers never lost the lead in the second half and went on to outscore the Redskins 20-11 in the third quarter. With the Explorers using many substitutes, Nokomis outscored Marquette 11-5 in the fourth quarter. Sophomore center Brayden Sabol led the Redskins’ offense with 11 points.
“We aren’t playing well,” Nokomis coach Steve Kimbro said. “We’re not playing with intensity and we’re not playing with consistency.”
Next up for the Explorers is another big PSC showdown, as they welcome Metro East Lutheran to Marquette at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.