Mohawk presses past Blue Jackets

PHOTO BY JONATHON BIRD Mohawk’s Zach Hayman is defended by New Riegel’s Hayden Hohman as he drives to the hoop while teammate Hunter Gottfried looks on during the first half Friday in Sycamore.

SYCAMORE — It was an auspicious beginning for Mohawk.

The Warriors won the tipoff, went the other way, then put up a shot.

It missed.

Mohawk’s Chris Klopp got an offensive board, leading to another Warriors’ shot.

It missed.

Another offensive rebound.

Another miss.

Another offensive rebound, another miss.

Before New Riegel had its first offensive possession, the Warriors had taken five shots.

And missed them all.

But Mohawk regrouped.

“After that, I think the kids almost had a little chuckle,” Mohawk coach Paul Dunn said. “We kind of started to settle down and execute and make those shots.”

The game turned into a rout for the Warriors, who outscored the Blue Jackets 10-2 to start the game, and then put on a press that New Riegel struggled with. By the beginning of the second quarter, Mohawk led 25-5.

The Blue Jackets turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter, 23 times in the game, and lost 71-46 to Mohawk in the season opener.

The Warriors were paced by Zach Hayman’s 17 points, and by Klopp, who had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Mohawk won despite being without Kedryk Leeth. Dunn said the post has a shoulder injury and may miss the season.

Dunn said that the Warriors are likely to use a seven- to eight-man rotation for the time being.

“One more reason why we’re going to be a little bit … looking at a lot of guys,” Dunn said. “The guys that came off the bench tonight, Brock Brause, Hunter Gottfried and Tyler Hayman, they stepped in and did a great job.”

Gottfried finished with three 3-pointers for nine points. Brause had four points. The Warriors also were pushed by Kaiden Hammer’s nine points and Austin Tusing’s seven.

New Riegel’s best stretch of basketball came in the second quarter, when it hit five 3-pointers and outscored the Warriors 22-14. New Riegel ended the first half on a 7-0 run, and went to the break down 39-27.

“After being down 25-5, you’re looking for a silver lining of any kind,” New Riegel coach Dave Losey said. “I was just happy with the way they fought back. They got out of their shell.”

Dunn said he thought the press tired out his players late in the half, which may have aided the New Riegel run.

“We ended up getting tired in the second quarter, probably because we pressed too long,” he said. “We’ve got to find a happy medium with the pressing.”

Mohawk opened the third quarter on an 11-4 spurt, and rolled from there.

The Blue Jackets were led by Bryce Hohman, who had 16 points, and Nick Reinhart, who had 14.