With the offensive load evenly distributed for the first time this year and a third-quarter scoring spree, Sturgis’ boys basketball team buried Kalamazoo Loy Norrix 59-39 Tuesday on the road.
The Trojans, which improved to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division, picked apart the Knights’ box-and-one zone to loosen a 23-23 halftime knot.
Sturgis outscored Loy Norrix (0-3) 23-6 in the third quarter and finished 59.5-percent shooting (22-for-37) from the field. Per usual, Chance Stewart (22 points) and Jack Scheske (15 points) buoyed the team’s offense. This time, however, four other Trojans helped row the boat.
Head coach Keith Kurowski went with a bigger lineup in Kalamazoo, turning to 6-foot-8 sophomore Ryan Schuller for the start. Schuller scored eight points and snagged 10 rebounds, reserve Jacob Cline tossed in nine points on 4-for-5 shooting, Tristen Stewart was good for a bucket, four boards and five assists and Lonnie Wright finished with three points.
“We had some other guys step up tonight and playe well,” Kurowski said. “We were able to spread the ball around, we found the open man, we handled their pressure and just got a lot of good balanced scoring tonight.
“We’ve got to be more than Chance and Jack. I told the guys we want Chance and Jack to get the lion’s share of shots — 60-70 percent — but I told the other guys, ‘You’re going to get your shots from their double teams, on run-outs, on steals, on foul shots.’ I just told them they need to start taking the open shot a little bit more. True to form, some of the other guys played with more confidence, were able to knock down the open shot and were able to capitalize by Chance being doubled at times.”
Both teams notched 14 points at the foul line, but Sturgis caused Loy Norrix plenty of problems on both the offensive and defensive glass, outrebounding the Knights 39-12. Chance Stewart collected 16 of those boards to go with eight steals.
Scheske added five assists in the win.
Loy Norrix shot 39 percent (10-for-42) from the field and just 5-for-21 from 3-point land.
“It was just a total team effort,” Kurowski said. “I think we took a major step forward tonight. Guys just really played with a confident attitude, with a sense of mental toughness and there was more communication. They’re still young and on a learning curve, but we took a big step forward tonight with this win and beating a pretty good Loy Norrix team on the road. We’ve got to keep going forward.”
Sturgis returns home Friday to take on Battle Creek Harper Creek.