In the second quarter of Tuesday's MEC clash with Chillicothe, senior guard Jonathan Baker and the Spoofhounds decided it was time to take over.
Behind Baker's sensational all-around quarter, the Hounds turned a one-point deficit into a 12-point halftime lead and stayed in control throughout the second half of a 54-38 win at MHS Gymnasium.
Baker finished with a game-high 22 points, scoring 18 of those in the first half and 13 in the second quarter. He also pocketed four steals and set up his teammates for several easy baskets.
Senior guard Treyton Burch carried the offensive load in the second half, scoring all 13 of his points.
The Hounds improved to 9-3 on the year and 1-1 in the MEC. Chillicothe dropped to 5-9 overall and 1-1 in the MEC.
"Tonight Baker and Burch really stepped up as quality seniors," said Maryville head boys coach Mike Kuwitzky. "They can both score and they're both good senior leaders. Burch had a really good second half."
Baker either assisted on or scored all 18 of Maryville's second quarter points.
Kyle Leslie was the beneficiary of Baker's two assists, converting a three-point play and then a layup to give the Hounds a 15-11 lead they never relinquished. Baker drove the length of the floor for a layup and turned a steal into another layup to make it 19-11.
After a three by Chillicothe's Jacob McKiddy halted Maryville's 9-0 run, Baker stuck a three at the other end to start his own 7-0 run.
Baker's short jump shot and a putback later in the quarter sent the Hounds to half up 26-14.
Chillicothe managed only two second quarter field goals and McKiddy's three was the only over the last six minutes of what was Maryville's best defensive stretch of the game.
"I thought for that stretch we started doing better at pressuring the ball and not giving up the drives as well," said Kuwitzky. "I thought early they were driving around us. If you're going to pressure, two things have to happen: You got to recover quicker and you got to have your teammates come over and help. I don't think that was happening as well early, but I think we started recovering better and getting better help-side."
Chillicothe played almost even with Maryville in the second half, but never came closer than 10 points.
The Hornets twice cut it to 10 in the third quarter, and both times Maryville answered.
Burch hit a baseline pull-up to make it 30-18. Then Kenkel nailed a three to put the Hounds up 13.
McKiddy's second three of the game brought the Hornets within 10 again in the fourth quarter. This time, the Hounds scored the next four points on layups by Burch that were assisted by Baker.
Page 2 of 2 - Maryville's lead reached 16 points on a layup by Ty Hilsabeck and finished right there.
"I thought we were pretty patient on offense tonight," said Kuwitzky. "That's one of the things we've been stressing with this team. Even though we did miss quite a few inside layups, we were pretty patient. We were getting good shots. That was encouraging to me."
Kenkel (seven points), Hilsabeck (six) and Leslie (five) were Maryville's other three scorers in the game along with Baker and Burch.
Chillicothe was led by Trent Moore with 13 points. Tyler Clampitt scored nine points and McKiddy had eight.
The Hornets scored the final five points of the opening quarter to lead 9-8. Their last lead in the game was 11-10.
Maryville lost to Chillicothe by 10 points last year, but the Hornets returned only two of their top eight players from a district championship team in Class 4.
This was Maryville's first game in 17 days and their first at home since a win over Jefferson on Dec. 13.
Kuwitzky felt some rust was evident early, but said the time off greatly benefited his team which played 11 games within a 30-day span.
"We had six quality practices and we were also able to get the break they needed from football," said Kuwitzky. "We went back to the basics that week. We had hard practices. We didn't take them off. We grinded it out here and really got after it."
Maryville's compressed schedule picks up Thursday with a road game against Auburn, Neb.
The Hounds return to Nebraska Friday night to play Falls City.