EFFINGHAM — Though Monday night was Jim Wood's first game as the head coach of the Charleston Trojans, he had his squad playing like a well-oiled machine against the St. Anthony Bulldogs at the St. Anthony Thanksgiving Tournament.
Wood's players pushed the tempo all night long, forcing the Bulldogs into 23 turnovers en route to a 92-54 blowout victory.
After a close first quarter that ended with Charleston holding a slim 20-19 advantage, the Trojans took off, scoring 26 points in the second quarter for a 46-33 halftime lead.
Seniors Zach Steidl, Ethan Miller, Noah Miller and Truston Winnett carried Charleston (1-0) in the first half, scoring 44 of the team's 46 points.
Then, to start the second half, the Trojans came out firing, knocking down three three-pointers to widen their lead.
Wood said he was very pleased with the way his team ran the court and controlled the pace of the game.
"That's how we've been practicing," he said. "We want to do that. I'm not predicting we're going to score in the 90s every game, but we want to get up and down the court."
"We got into the tempo that Charleston wanted to get us into, and we were running without a purpose," St. Anthony coach Mark Tovey added.
Tovey said that his team's lack of varsity experience was very evident against Charleston.
"We've got so many kids that haven't played varsity basketball, and it showed," he said. "It's no excuse; nobody cares about our inexperience. We're going to have to clean things up."
Steidl led the way for the Trojans, netting 26 points on the night. Winnett added 20, Ethan Miller scored 19 points and Noah Miller chipped in with 11.
"We've got a core group of seniors that will be our statistical leaders, but it was a team effort tonight," Wood said. "It was more than just those four."
John Goeckner had a big night for St. Anthony (0-1), racking up 21 points and 13 rebounds to pick up his first double-double on the season.
"John Goeckner is just a force on the inside," Tovey said.
Jacob Schuette added 18 points for the Bulldogs, and Alex Hoelscher and Alex Gardewine scored six points apiece.
With another game on Wednesday, both coaches are tying to make their teams don't get too up or too down on their performances Monday.
"We can't get too high after any win," Wood said. "We have to stay even-keeled. We're going to play other teams that have been practicing just as hard as we have."
Tovey's message for the Bulldogs was exactly the opposite, focusing on having a good practice today and preparing for Belleville Althoff on Wednedsay.
"We've just got to try to be positive with them," he said. "We've got another game Wednesday, and about 30 more this year, so we've just got to take it day by day."