CEDAR LAKE | Marquette Catholic came to Hanover Central's Homecoming game Friday night looking to play spoiler.
After scoring the first eight points of the game and building a commanding 17-2 lead after one quarter, it became apparent the Blazers were going to do exactly that as they went on to a 67-33 Greater South Shore win over the Wildcats.
“They had a great crowd,” Marquette coach Donovan Garletts said of Hanover Central. “It was a fun atmosphere, and you don't always get to play in that.”
Marquette (2-2, 2-0) had fun on defense in the first quarter, forcing seven turnovers. By halftime, the Blazers had built a 35-7 lead with the help of a tenacious man defense that limited the Wildcats (0-3, 0-2) to only two first half field goals.
Hanover Central ended with 19 turnovers.
“We started tracking deflections this year, and I think the kids really feed off of it,” Garletts said. “Our man is our bread and butter. We've got an athletic team, we're active. Our guys are really starting to learn to communicate with one another.”
Richard Mitchell led a balanced Blazers attack with 13 points, while Nathan Flores chipped in 11 points and led the Blazers with eight rebounds.
Garletts said Flores has become much more of a complete basketball player this season.
“I got more athletic,” Flores said. “I hit the weight room a lot more. With my explosiveness being able to rebound and actually take physical contact — that helps a lot.”
Hanover Central coach Bryon Clouse said the Wildcats are definitely in a rebuilding season. Alex Calvin is the only senior on a very young team with no varsity experience.
“We kind of knew this would be the outcome,” Clouse said. “When you're playing a team that has the talent Marquette has, it's hard to go against that. You just hopefully use it as a learning experience. We've just got to cut down on turnovers.”
Hanover Central's Payton Smith led his team with 14 points.