South Tama's boys basketball team didn't mess around with rival East Marshall very long Tuesday night.
What was a close game mid-second quarter, quickly became a blowout in favor of the Trojans. They outscored East Marshall 35-7 during the middle portion of the contest, which blew the North Iowa Cedar League game wide open.
The Trojans won their second-consecutive game of the season with Tuesday's win. They beat East Marshall 81-63.
"Absolutely nice to get two wins in a row," coach Lonnie Hammond said. "You get on a roll and then you have the opportunity to win a basketball game. We've played well the last two nights."
The STC players were also in good spirits after Tuesday's home victory.
"This feels great," senior Jose Fonseca said. "So far, it's been a big turnaround from last season. We have our best record in three years already."
East Marshall led early in the game as it scored five points in the first 37 seconds. The Mustangs continued to lead South Tama throughout the quarter, despite STC tying the game at 16-16. The Mustangs won the first quarter 23-19.
South Tama quickly took a lead in the second quarter. A basket from senior Vinny Lasley was followed by a traditional three-point play from senior Daryl Bidwell, giving STC a 24-23 lead. East Marshall later tied the game at 29-29 with a pair of free throws. Then STC took control of the game during the next nine minutes.
Sophomore Grant Koch saw his first varsity action and he made the most of it, by scoring 11 points. His first four broke the tie late in the second quarter. Senior Clay Waterbury hit a pair of free throws and Lasley scored a layup after a Waterbury steal to end an 8-0 run by STC.
The Trojans came out of the second half with a 9-0 spurt, sparred by five points from Fonseca. He scored five more shortly after an East Marshall basket.
"Finally," Fonseca said. "It's been broke all season, but tonight I finally hit my jumper. It feels good."
Senior Kaleb Davenport added a three-pointer amidst three baskets from Lasley, including a one-handed fast-break dunk. STC led 64-36 after a basket from senior Taylor Johnson with 1:40 left in the third quarter.
"I thought we came out a little flat tonight," Hammond said. "Coming out of halftime, we talked about getting back to being fundamentally sound make simple plays, play defense, move your feet and rebound. We talked about outscoring them 6-0 out of the gate and we outscored them 9-0. We did the little things and that's a learning process. I thought we moved forward from where we were the other night.
"East Marshall, I give them a lot of credit," he added. "They battle all the way to the end. When you play a team like that, you have to get to a point in the game where you put them away, because if it comes down to the end and it's close, anything can happen. I thought we did that in the third quarter. I thought we played the best basketball we've played this year during that third quarter."
East Marshall trimmed South Tama's lead in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough. The Mustangs never got closer than 17 points as the two squads traded baskets for much of the period.
"Everybody got a chance to get on the floor and get a taste of it tonight," Hammond said. "The starters got to sit down and relax, knowing that they worked hard and their teammates, who don't get to play a lot, get to finish it. This was a good night."
Fonseca was proud of his teammates for playing well Tuesday. He said Lasley has been a great addition to the squad and they've been improving since the opening night loss to Grinnell.
"Vinny is really helping us," Fonseca said. "He's a rebounding machine and he passes the ball very well. He sees the whole court and it's definitely helping us.
"We just hustled tonight," he said. "We got back and got easy looks. It's nice when you get a lot of layups."
Lasley led the Trojans with 21 points, but Fonseca was close behind with 20 points. Senior Sam Kuhter was also in double figures with XX points Tuesday.
South Tama will travel Friday to State Center to play West Marshall, who is the defending NICL champion. The game will begin at 7:30 p.m.
"West Marshall has some tradition and I believe that if you want to win the conference title, it has to go through West Marshall," Hammond said. "This will be a really good early season test to see where we at right now."