Things didn’t start well for Windsor Monday night at the National Trail Conference tournament, as they were held scoreless for the first four minutes of the game against Cowden-Herrick.
That was about the only four-minute stretch that didn’t go the Blue Devils’ way, as ninth-seeded Windsor had little trouble with eighth-seeded Cowden-Herrick and advanced with a 61-38 victory.
Windsor fell behind 5-0 with 3:59 left, but had taken the lead 10-7 with 1:31 left in the first and never looked back.
“The first quarter was a little rusty,” said Windsor head coach Silas Pogue. “Part of the problem is we get so amped up, we want to score in such a hurry and want to rifle the ball a million miles an hour.”
Mitch Haddock and Nick Hutchinson hit 3-pointers to bring Windsor back, as the Blue Devils got contributions up and down their lineup.
The Hornets didn’t take advantage of the opportunity they gave themselves early, said head coach Marc Bain, and paid for it when their shots stopped falling.
“We get stops, and you’ve got to capitalize on the stops,” he said. “Next thing you know, we outplay them for six minutes and we’re down 10-7.”
After a Dylan Barnes runner with 3:13 left in the first, Cowden went nearly a full quarter without scoring until Colton Sphar hit a layup with 3:25 left in the second. By then, the Hornets were down 21-9.
Cowden went on a quick 6-0 run to cut the lead to eight before half, but a Hayden Cole 3-pointer with two seconds left put Windsor back up double digits, 24-13.
From there, it was all but over as Tristan Warner joined the show offensively and Windsor cruised in the second half.
Alex Allen had just seven points for Windsor, but distributed well all night, setting up Warner with 24 points, a game-high. Hutchinson had 11 off the bench and Cole finished with 10.
“We’re immature at trusting each other, we’re worried about the individualistic part of the game,” Pogue said. “It’s amazing what they can do when they trust each other.”
Cowden’s offense sputtered after the opening burst, as the Blue Devil defense was aggressive and leading scorer Colton Burrus got into foul trouble early. He finished with four points, while Sphar, Barnes and Colton Evans each had seven points.
The Hornets (3-13) will play South Central for seventh place Saturday morning, and Bain said a totally different effort will be necessary.
“We didn’t make baskets, I’m sure we were outrebounded,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to go back to square one, which stinks when you’re 16 games into the year.”
Windsor entered the tournament with “nothing to lose”, Pogue said, and will hope to play with that mentality against top-seeded St. Anthony at 6:15 p.m. tonight. St. Anthony bested Windsor in the first round last year, and Pogue’s hoping they learned something from that game — himself included.
“They got a good group of kids,” he said. “Last year, I learned my lesson, I came out and we tried to press them. We have to take care of the basketball better than we did tonight.”
Windsor 10 14 20 17 61
Cowden-Herrick 7 6 13 12 38
Windsor: Haddock 5, Hutchinson 11, Allen 7, Peadro 2, Cole 10, Warner 24, Ard 2
Cowden-Herrick: Blackerby 2, Sphar 7, M. Sandiford 4, Burrus 4, N. Sandiford 3, Nohren 4, Evans 7, Barnes 7