The Tremont boys basketball team hadn’t played a game in 12 days before Monday’s 64-33 win over Roanoke-Benson in the first round of the Williamsville Holiday Tournament.
The Turks (10-0) showed few signs of rust against the Rockets.
Defense played a role early and often in the rout. Tremont forced 25 turnovers and set the tone early. The Rockets had nine give-a-ways in the first quarter as a result of Tremont’s prolific full-court press.
The turnovers resulted in an early 11-3 lead for Tremont, which never trailed in the game.
“It was nice to get back out there and knock the rust off a little bit,” Tremont coach Troy Schmidt said. “At times (the defense) looked really good, at other times we were maybe a half step slow.”
The Turks were able to convert many of those turnovers into fast break layups.
Tucker Runyon and Jordan Wagenbach each scored 11 points for Tremont. Runyon started early, scoring six of Tremont’s 20 first-quarter points. He finished the first quarter with a steal that led to a layup, immediately after Conor Honan’s steal that led to three points the old fashioned way.
Wagenbach came on strong in the third quarter, recording seven of his 11 points thanks to aggressive rebounding.
“We were a little rusty, but overall, I was happy with the results,” Schmidt said.
Tremont is known for its full-court defensive press, which prevented Roanoke-Benson from establishing offensive rhythm.
Schmidt and the Turks not only prefer the full-court press, but also enjoy rewarding the fans that made the near hour trip the day after Christmas.
“We try to make it a full-court game. We’re better when we play full court,” Schmidt said. “Half-court games are boring, so we try to give a little excitement for the fans for driving all the way down here.”
Honan finished with eight points and seven rebounds for Tremont.
Tremont dug into its bench, getting scoring from 12 different players.
No Roanoke-Benson player scored in double figures. Sophomore Jordan Huschen led the Rockets with nine points.
All season, the Turks have been getting production from freshman Landon Pflederer, who continued his strong play in his first taste of high-school holiday tournament action.
The freshman scored nine points, including a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the free-throw line. On the defensive side of the ball, he was a catalyst for the 25-8 turnover discrepancy.
“He’s a freshman, but he doesn’t play like a freshman,” Schmidt said. “Physically, he’s coming along. More so, with the ball in his hands, he’s making some good decisions for us. … Today, he played some pretty solid defense.”
The No. 2-seeded Turks will use the experience of four games in four days as preparation for the Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament, as well as the IHSA Class 2A state series.
“That’s what we use these for, is to try to get better as a team and figure out where we are as a team,” Schmidt said.