Effingham Daily News
St. Anthony found its way into the paint early and often Monday night, while Charleston settled for jump shots the majority of the night.
The difference showed on the scoreboard at the end of the game, as the Bulldogs had little trouble putting away the Trojans in a 58-30 season-opening win.
The Bulldogs move to 1-0 and 1-0 in pool play at the St. Anthony Turkey Tournament after one night. Mt. Zion defeated Robinson 61-48 in the night's first game.
The inside dominance was based on the Bulldogs' strength up and down the roster: length.
"With our size, I think that's an area we have to control every night, night in and night out," said St. Anthony coach Cody Rincker. "We've got to be strong when we get the ball inside, and looking to take care of it when we do. Even our guards are 6-foot-2, 6-3 and bigger."
Things started slow for Rincker and his Bulldogs during his first game at the helm of St. Anthony, with just six total points scored in the first four minutes of the game.
But the Bulldogs led 4-2 and held off the Trojans to take an 11-7 lead.
It wouldn't be close again. St. Anthony came out like a house on fire in the second quarter, facing to a 34-14 lead while holding Charleston scoreless for five entire minutes.
The defense was active all night in a mix of zone and man defense, forcing the Trojans out of rhythm time and time again with deflected passes and rapidly closing lanes to drive into.
"That zone, we're hoping to get our long arms out, get some tips and making it difficult for them to see the court," Rincker said.
Things continued from there, with St. Anthony stretching its lead out to as many as 31 midway through the third quarter.
Alex Hoelscher led all scorers with 16 points, and Neil Williams chipped in 13 of his own. Matt Gibson added eight points of the bench.
It was what Rincker wanted out of his team for their first game and his first as their coach.
"Growing up, I always wanted to coach and be in this position," he said. "It wouldn't have mattered if they didn't play their tails off and do what they did.
"I was very pleased that we came out with our intensity and effort. I can't be happier than that. I'm not satisfied, but I can't be happier."
Colin McInerney led Charleston with nine points.
Mt. Zion kicks off action at the Enlow Center at 5 p.m. tomorrow agianst Breese Central. Effingham plays Belleville Althoff Catholic at about 6:30, and Mattoon takes on Robinson in the nightcap at 8 p.m.
The Bulldogs are off until Wednesday, when they face Althoff at 8 p.m., following the conclusions of the Breese Central/Mattoon (5 p.m.) and Effingham/Charleston (6:30 p.m.) contests.
Charleston 7 7 8 8 30
St. Anthony 11 23 14 10 58
Charleston: Huddleston (5 points); Gowin (6 points); McInerney (9 points); Strader (5 points); Smith (2 points); Thomas (3 points)
St. Anthony: Williams (13 points); Gibson (8 points); Greene (2 points); Bourgeios (2 points); A. Gardewine (2 points); Hoelscher (16 points); Z. Gardewine (2 points); Gurtner (2 points); Rios (5 points)