TRACY - As the snow fell outside, so too did the shots for the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton boys basketball team in its season debut against the Murray County Central Rebels on Friday. The Panthers shot 38 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range in a 70-34 non-conference win.
On the defensive end of the floor, the Panthers' aggressive half-court defense put pressure on MCC ball handlers, forcing 17 turnovers and holding the Rebels to 22 percent from the field.
"It kind of got us into some panic situations tonight," MCC head coach Tim Bobeldyk said of the TMB defense. "Instead of creating space, we just put our heads down and we tried to do too much individually and not have a team offense."
Photo by Travis Andries
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s Anthony Vue shoots over Murray County Central’s Seth Bass during the second half of Friday night’s non-conference game at Tracy Area High School.
For TMB head coach Rick Haberman, the high energy defense will be a key factor in determining the team's success as the season progresses.
"We just want to play hard on defense overall and one thing we need to do is play hard on a consistent basis," he said. "I thought we got a good start at that tonight."
Employing that defense and a consistent shooting touch, the Panthers looked little like a team playing its first game of the season in the early going.
Justin Leclaire 2 0-0 5, Jordan Lanoue 3 2-4 9, Alex Meyer 1 1-2 4, Anthony Vue 3 0-0 7, Mason Van Essen 2 1-2 6, Alec Swan 2 2-2 7, Parker Lanoue 3 2-3 9, Asa Nelson 1 0-0 2, Brian Fultz 2 0-0 5, Matt LaVoy 7 0-2 14, Michael Nilius 1 0-2 2. Totals 27 8-17 70. 3-pointers 8 Rebounds 36 (LaVoy 5, Van Essen 5, J. Lanoue 5) Assists 16 (P. Lanoue 6) Steals 4 (Swan 2) Blocks 0 Turnovers 10 Total Fouls 21.
Jack Thony 4 0-1 9, Seth Bass 3 3-7 9, Cole Bly 2 1-5 5, Nick Petersen 0 2-2 2, Sam Erickson 0 1-2 1, Tyler Scotting 0 0-2 0, Aaron Boock 0 1-4 1, Mitch Reinsma 2 0-0 5, Max Whitehead 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 8-23 34. 3-pointers 2 Rebounds 28 (Erickson 6) Assists 4 Steals 4 (Thony 3) Blocks 0 Turnovers 17 Total Fouls 11.
Halftime Score: TMB 31, MCC 13.
TMB jumped out to an 8-2 lead after an Alec Swan 3-pointer with 14 minutes, 45 seconds to go in the first half. The Panthers extended that lead to 21-7 over the next eight minutes, getting a tough two points from Jordan Lanoue before MCC called a timeout with 5:38 remaining in the half.
Behind six more points from Lanoue, the Panthers continued to add to their lead and took a 31-13 advantage into the locker room.
MCC, on the other hand, was settling for deep shots that the Rebels just couldn't connect on. For the game, the Rebels were 2-for-16 from 3-point range, with both 3s coming in the second half.
"It was poor choices, and that's one thing that we've got to get better at is running our offense," Bobeldyk said. "Knowing what type of shots they should be taking individually and put pressure on the defense and not just settle for that open shot at the 3-point line."
The Rebels tried working their way back into the game after the break, but were unable to put together the necessary runs.
Despite being in foul trouble late in the game, the Panthers actually added to their already impressive lead. TMB outscored MCC 18-7 over the final five minutes and 24-11 over the final 10.
A major factor in the Panthers' late-game surge was excellent play from their bench, in particular Matt LaVoy. The TMB non-starters combined for 35 points, including 21 in the second half, while LaVoy led all scorers with 14 points and pulled down a team-high five rebounds.
"He came in and every time he did come in he gave us a burst of energy, I thought," Haberman said. "He really hit the offensive boards hard and then just did a lot of good little things. He hustled all over the place and hit the floor a few times. I thought he really just gave us a spark, not just the first time he came in, but every time he came in."
Jordan Lanoue and Parker Lanoue each had nine points for TMB, with Parker Lanoue adding six assists. The Rebels were led by Jack Thony and Seth Bass, who each scored nine points.
The Panthers (1-0 overall) had just 10 turnovers for the game and had 12 more assists as a team than MCC (0-3 overall). Though they committed 21 fouls, the Panthers rarely looked like a team playing its first game of the season.
"It was good to have three weeks of practice before the first game, that was for sure nice," Haberman said, "But we still have a lot of stuff that we haven't gotten in. We talked about that we want to keep improving individually, keep getting are stuff put in. We're glad to get that first game in and we're happy with our effort tonight. We just want to keep building and get better from here."
Up next for the Panthers is their Camden Conference opener against Lincoln HI Tuesday in Tracy. MCC, meanwhile, will travel to Adrian on the same day to begin Red Rock Conference play against the Dragons.