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Men’s Basketball Opens Season with Convincing Win

November 02, 2012

For all the concerns head coach Randy Albrecht expressed entering Thursday’s season opener, his team certainly responded well. The Archers built an 18-point, first-half lead and never looked back in a 99-51 victory over Missouri Baptist University’s junior varsity.

The Archers were paced in scoring by freshman John Connelly (St. Mary’s) and sophomore forwards Will Clark (Summit) and Cameron Hicks (Clayton), who each pitched in 12 points. The balanced offensive attack was too much for a Missouri Baptist team that, outside of a hot-shooting first half in which they connected on seven 3-point attempts, was overmatched.

The twin-tower combo of the 6-9 Clark and 6-6 freshman forward Joe Reed (St. Louis, Mo.) virtually eliminated any semblance of an inside game for the Spartans, forcing them to heave low-percentage perimeter shots in the second half. That is an element the team sorely lacked a year ago, with then-freshman Charley Mueller (Lindbergh) representing the only real shot-blocker on the roster.

“We had great inside play with Ryun Davis last year, but we really didn’t have any height,” Albrecht said. “We’ve got weight to throw around and a lot of them, with four guys over 240 (pounds), so we have some depth there.”

That depth showed its value Thursday, as Albrecht rotated his forwards evenly throughout the blowout victory. The Archers dominated the Spartans in the paint at both ends of the floor, receiving production from each of the team’s forwards.

The Archers also received solid production from sophomore guard Enis Mehmedovic (Bayless), who played primarily in a reserve role last season. Mehmedovic started at point guard Thursday and poured in 10 points.

With several players returning this season after not playing competitively for multiple years, conditioning for some could have been a struggle. But with the large lead, it did not factor into Thursday’s win.

“I think we overachieved today, scoring 99 points with some wounded legs,” Clark said. “I think we could have been better defensively, but we played pretty solid.”

Albrecht was quick to temper his enthusiasm over Thursday’s victory, noting that there are key areas in which the Archers must improve, particularly the team’s perimeter defense, which will be tested again Saturday when Lincoln College comes to STLCC.

“Everybody got to play, and they all did a few things they could hang their hat on,” Albrecht said, before adding, “but we still have a lot of work to do.”