St. Anthony head coach Cody Rincker told his squad to get out and go after Neoga defensively in Friday’s home opening matchup. And that’s precisely what the Bulldogs did in a 68-29 win at the Enlow Center.
“It was a pretty nice opener,” Cody Rincker said searching something to say. “I’m not usually speechless after a game, but to be honest to watch these seniors and everyone around Illinois to see their kids play basketball, it was gratifying to see them play with passion and energy. To be honest, some of these guys have waited their entire lives to play.”
After Neoga’s Isaac Walk two-pointer to put the Indians within a bucket at 10-8 midway through the first quarter, the Bulldogs’ Kennan Walsh and Logan Antrim clamped down on Neoga’s NTC All-Conference player Paci McClure to just 4 first half points and holding Neoga without a basket for over nine minutes.
“We talked this preseason that our defensive had to be something that ignites our offense,” Rincker said. “Neoga was hanging in there 13-8 and then we made a couple of subs. Then it went from 13-8 to 30-8. I don’t know which exact group it was, but they came in and we didn’t miss a beat.”
By the time Neoga’s Luke Romack put the Indians back on the board, the Bulldogs had built a 36-9 lead in part by a Seth Hotze one-handed slam. Logan Antrim’ led the team with ten first half points and 17 overall, with bench scoring fom Justin Ruholl, who had 11 points in the game, nine from the three point arc.
“I hope we continue to shoot that well,” Rincker said in regards to his teams three-point performance. “If we do, then that adds another dynamic to our game. I think we have the capabilities to do that. I would be lying if I sat here and said I’d be expecting that.”
Neoga’s offensive woes continued as St. Anthony pressured the Indians holding them from scoring until midway through the third quarter with jumper from Nick Titus, who would have all of the Indians’ eight third quarter points.
St. Anthony would have at least four players score in each quarter, as Colton Fearday would lead the Bulldogs with five in the fourth quarter helping seal the Bulldogs win.
“Logan with the most experience set the tone early especially with burying that three that gave us a lot of confidence,” Rincker said.
Rincker was pleased with many of his bench players. Including Justin Ruholl.
“ Here’s a kid who’s put in a lot of time and effort and to see him have productive minutes was awesome. It really was tremendous,” he said.
“Kennan Walsh didn’t shoot well, but kept going. Seth Hotze is a kid that sat behing Jaccob last year and didn’t see much of the court. I thought everybody played their role and we have to continue off that.”
Neoga 8 5 8 8 29
St. Anthony 19 19 16 14 68
NEOGA: Titus 2 0-0 10, Peter 1 0-0 2, McClure 1 2-2 7, O’Dell 0 0-0 3, Walk 2 0-0 4, Perry 1 0-0 2, Romack 0 1-2 1
Three pointers: Titus 2, McClure 1, O’Dell 1.
Antrim 4 3-5 17, Fearday 1 0-0 5, Wiedman 1 0-0 5, Walsh 1 0-0 5, Schuette 1 0-0 5
Nuxoll 1 0-0 2, Croy 20-1 7, Ruholl 1 0-0 11, Willenborg 2 2-2 6, Hotze 4 0-0 8
Three pointers: Antrim 2, Fearday 1, Walsh 1, Schuette 1, Croy 1, Ruholl 3.