Starting fast was a top priority for Washington during the Bank of Sullivan Shootout Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Jays (7-2) jumped to a 17-0 lead over the first five minutes of their game against Lindbergh and cruised to a 59-18 victory at Sullivan High School.
“That was our goal, to start fast. I was just worried about an emotional letdown. When you play in a close game and win, then you get here on a neutral site and don’t have that crowd, I didn’t want our guys to go through the motions,” said Washington Head Coach Chip Sodemann. “That’s how we challenged them. I was really proud of the way they responded.”
Lindbergh (2-4) had no answer for Washington’s full-court pressure.
The Blue Jays, who extended their winning streak to five games, were able to speed things up with their pressure, force turnovers and get opportunities on the offensive end.
“We made a few adjustments after the last game. Pacific knew what we were going to do and they broke it well,” Sodemann said. “The press bothered Lindbergh. That’s where we felt we had an advantage.”
Leading the way for Washington was Ronnie Suggs, who scored 18 points, 16 in the first half. He was named to the all-shootout first team.
Luke Schroepfer finished the game with 12 points.
Brad Carpenter hit three three-pointers in the first half to score nine points.
“Our top guys, Ronnie, Luke Schroepfer, Brad, and those guys, they set the tempo by playing with a lot of energy,” Sodemann said. “We got some buckets early and everything fell into place from there.”
Jared Walde collected seven points, all in the first half.
Luke Hasenjaeger and Jacob Mulkey both scored five points. Christian Hardesty had three points.
Jordan Desnoyer scored seven points for Lindbergh.
“Everybody played their role,” Sodemann said. “We had guys make the extra pass. We had guys pushing in transition trying to get some easy layups. Overall, it was a good team win.”
The full-court press has been and should continue to be a big weapon for the Blue Jays.
“We have some guys who are a little bit longer. Tonight, it was a turnover causer. Against McCluer, it’s going to have to be a tempo controller. You adjust it based on your personnel and based on who you’re playing,” Sodemann said. “Our guys are doing a good job buying into it and buying into our defense. We held them to 18 points, which is pretty good.”
Suggs, Schroepfer and Carpenter all scored multiple points right off the bat.
Before the Flyers knew what hit them, it was 17-0 and then 20-2 with 2:50 left in the first quarter.
Washington led 28-6 after the first eight minutes.
The Blue Jays kept their defense intact for the remainder of the game, leading 42-12 at halftime and 53-17 after three quarters.
Lindbergh didn’t score more than six points in any of the four quarters.
Washington is seeded fourth for the 2012 Meramec Holiday Festival Tournament Wednesday through Sunday at St. Louis Community College-Meramec.
The top three seeds are CBC, Hazelwood Central and DeSmet.
“It’s going to be brutal. There are no easy games in that tournament, no matter who you’re playing. Everybody is well-coached and will be ready,’ Sodemann said. “We’re excited. Now that we’ve been there for a year, we know what to expect. Hopefully this year we can come out with a couple of victories.”
The Blue Jays play in the tournament’s opening game against 13th-seeded McCluer (0-5) Wednesday at 4 p.m.
“They’re extremely athletic. They’re big,” Sodemann said of McCluer. “They don’t have the guards they used to have. They have some big guys who chase the boards. It’s going to be a hard game.”
The Washington-McCluer loser will play the Vianney-Marquette loser Thursday at 12:30 p.m. The Washington-McCluer winner will play the Vianney-Marquette winner Friday at 4 p.m.
The tournament continues Saturday and concludes Sunday.
A complete schedule of the tournament can be found at www.emissourian.com.
“Winning a couple of games would be great for our program and our guys. Winning two games at Meramec, that’s pretty good,” Sodemann said. “We’ll just take it one game at a time and get ready for McCluer. We know what they do. Hopefully our guys will come out ready to play.”