West Nodaway did enough positive things at both ends of the floor to ensure its opening game in Pool A Tuesday night with Craig-Fairfax was never really in doubt.
Ahead by double-figures from the middle of the second quarter on, the Rockets rolled to a 57-34 win over CFX at the Northwest Missouri Tournament in a game that included a brief skirmish in the fourth quarter.
The Rockets will play South Nodaway tonight at 9 p.m. with the winner gaining a spot in the championship game. CFX plays in the consolation game at 5 p.m. Saturday.
"One of our goals was to come out and play well, get the tournament started off right and see where we can go the rest of this week," said West Nodaway head boys basketball coach Roger Johnson. "I thought the kids tonight did a really good job rebounding, and I thought defensively they limited Craig-Fairfax's second chance opportunities. I thought that was a real key for us."
West Nodaway held CFX to just two first quarter points and nine in the first half, while scoring at least 10 in each quarter. Its halftime lead was 17 points.
The Rockets had a balanced scoring effort led by sophomore point guard Trevor Meyer with 14 points. He also handed out several nice assists on drives to the basket.
Freshman Jaden Gillenwater, freshman Blake Farnan and junior Jonathon Madere each had nine points. Sophomore Ryan Evans scored eight, all in the third quarter.
"It was really good to see," said Johnson. "We had some dribble penetration by some of our guards. They did a great job of distributing the ball to each other. I thought that was a real key. They got everybody involved."
CFX scored the game's first two points, then went scoreless the rest of the first quarter during which time the Rockets ran off 14 straight points to lead 14-2.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Gillenwater ignited a 10-3 run to close the half that extended West Nodaway's lead to 26-9.
The nine first half points were the fewest given up by the Rockets all season.
Evans scored three straight third quarter baskets to increase West Nodaway's lead to 32-9, forcing a Hornet timeout with 4:24 left.
CFX finally got its offense going, scoring the next eight points to make it 32-17. The Rockets hit four free throws to close the quarter up 36-17.
CFX scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter and a layup by Wyatt Drewes brought the Hornets within 14.
After a pair of free throws by Meyer to make it 41-25, tempers flared on West Nodaway's next offensive possession.
Trying to fight through a screen, CFX junior Grant Hopkins pushed over Gillenwater and was called for an offensive foul.
Page 2 of 2 - The two players came face to face, and Hopkins pushed him again with the officials trying to separate them. This resulted in Hopkins being ejected from the game.
Gillenwater also had to sit out the final 5:32.
"It just got a little over-aggressive," said Johnson. "When he pushed him, our kids should've been smart enough just to kind of back away. That's probably the fault of some youthful kids not knowing how to handle things. Our kids did jump in and got everything settled down."
West Nodaway eventually stretched its lead out to 23, with five straight points from Justin Chitwood in the closing minutes.
Garrett Ball led CFX with nine points. Hopkins and Tristan Ray each had eight.
Northeast Nodaway 65 North Nodaway 48
At their best in the first and third quarters, the Bluejays won their opening game of the Northwest Missouri Tournament over North Nodaway 65-48 Tuesday night.
NEN finished the opening quarter up 22-10, went to the half up seven and doubled their lead to 14 in the third.
The two teams combined to make 15 three-pointers in the game.
NEN placed three in double-figures led by Joel Scroggie with 16 points. Garet Jackson hit three first quarter three's and another in the third quarter to finish with 14 points.
Steve Schulte knocked down three from long range and netted 11 points.
North Nodaway's Koby Reynolds hit four second half three's and led all scorers with 18 points. Austin Reynolds scored nine points.