LENOX — Unselfish play and a strong inside presence helped Lenox get out to a quick start against Stanton here Monday, as the Tigers’ strong first quarter propelled them to a 59-49 win over the Vikings.
After trading baskets in the early part of the first quarter, Lenox went on a 16-2 run to close the quarter with a 24-9 lead.
“Passing the ball real well, looking for the open guys. Spencer Brown and Todd Stoaks, they really took control early in that first quarter,” co-head coach Jesse Cox said. “We got a lot of high-low stuff off of rebounds. Those two guys really took control of the game inside to start us off.”
The pair of post players combined for 10 points in the first quarter. Brown finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Tigers, while Stoaks finished the game with 10 points and five boards.
Stanton was able to cut into the the Tiger lead a little during the second quarter, closing it to 29-18 at the halftime break, but a variety of defenses kept the Vikings guessing during the second half.
“We like to switch up,” Cox said. “We run some 1-3-1, a little 2-3, we like to extend it with some halfcourt traps, and throw a little 55 in there, some man-to-man to keep them guessing.”
Cox said having athletes like Mason Peterson and Caleb Lange allow his team to mix in different zone defenses, like the 1-3-1.
“Mason Peterson’s pretty athletic, and that helps out when you’ve got him out there,” Cox said. “He can go out and look for a steal and then get back to the block and defend the weakside. And Caleb Lange as well. Those two guys are great players, and I don’t know if we coach them too much other than put them on the floor. They’ve got some God-given talent.”
Lenox only finished the game with two steals, but was able to get several transition buckets off of defensive rebounds, as well.
Lange hit the defensive glass well, pulling down seven defensive boards out of his 11 total rebounds. Lange added eight points, despite missing much of the second half after taking an elbow early in the third quarter.
“He’s actually had some problems before the season started where he’s caught a couple of elbows, upper front tooth, and he just caught another one there,” Cox said. “He’s been wearing a mouth guard retainer, and of course, tonight’s the night he didn’t wear it. Luckily, the trainer from Maryville comes up to most of our games, so they went in there, put the tooth back in place and dug the retainer out of his gym bag and he was able to come back.”
Lenox continued a recent trend of finishing the game with balanced scoring, as three players finished in double figures and seven total players scored.
Brown led the way with 16, Peterson finished with 13 and Stoaks added 10 as the scorers in double figures. Lange pitched in eight and Dustin Gordon added seven off the bench. Frank Martinez added a 3-pointer and Carson Cline scored two points.
The Tigers also celebrated three seniors — Peterson, Jose Govea and manager Ben Nordstrom — during a senior night ceremony prior to the game.
In a move that brought plenty of cheers from the home crowd, Nordstrom checked into the game in the final minute.
“Ben Nordstrom, that’s the first time he’s ever suited up,” Cox said. “He’s our manager and he does all the stuff nobody wants to — wet towel the floor, fill the ice bottles and all that. We gave him a little treat. We had some guys home sick tonight, so we gave him a uniform and let him suit up tonight. A nice way to honor all the thankless stuff that he does.”
The Tigers improved to 12-8 with the win, while Stanton falls to 5-14 with the loss.
Lenox returns to action tonight at Mount Ayr and finishes the regular season Friday at Adair-Casey.
STANTON (49) — David Sorensen 6 2-2 16, Jeff Marshall 5 4-9 14, Brady Johnson 5 1-2 11, Cade Confer 3 1-3 7, Peter Sorensen 0 1-2 1. Team fouls — 10. Fouled out — None.
LENOX (59) — Spencer Brown 6 4-4 16, Mason Peterson 3 4-8 13, Todd Stoaks 5 0-0 10, Caleb Lange 4 0-0 8, Dustin Gordon 2 0-0 7, Frank Martinez 1 0-0 3, Carson Cline 1 0-0 2. Totals — 23 7-12 59. 3-point goals — 5 (Peterson 3, Gordon 1, Martinez 1). FGshooting — 23-46 (50 percent). Rebounds — 32 (Lange 11, Brown 10, Stoaks 5, Peterson 3). Assists — 7 (Peterson 3, Martinez 2). Steals — 2 (Peterson 1, Stoaks 1). Turnovers — 7. Team fouls — 13. Fouled out — None.
Stanton — 9 18 30 49
Lenox — 24 29 43 59