CRETE | Crete-Monee coach Tom Cappel couldn't remember the last time his team was beaten so badly.
It's safe to say he won't spend too much time trying to hold onto the memory of Crete-Monee's 86-57 Southland Athletic Conference loss to visiting Rich East on Friday.
"We just don't look like the same team that we did at the beginning of the season," Cappel said of his ballclub. "I don't really know what else you guys want me to say tonight."
Crete-Monee (14-6, 2-4) looked sluggish early, playing without starters Laquon Treadwell (banquet) and Marvie Keith (concussion). Rich East took advantage, grabbing a quick 8-0 lead in the first period.
Warriors senior Mark Conner sparked an early Crete-Monee rally, scoring eight points in the quarter, including two 3-pointers, as his team responded for a 18-17 lead to end the frame.
But all of Crete-Monee's momentum was quickly extinguished.
Rich East (10-5, 4-1) forced 10 turnovers in the second quarter, and proceeded to pour on the offense to put Crete-Monee on its heels. Brandon Cole scored seven points during a 13-0 Rockets run that opened the second period and gave his team a 30-18 lead. The Warriors didn't collect their first point until the 4-minute, 7-second mark of the period, a harmless free throw from Conner.
Conner led Crete-Monee with 12 points, but went scoreless in the third quarter before sitting out in the fourth with the rest of the Warriors' starters.
Rich East led 45-30 at the break, and continued its onslaught into the second half. Cold added nine points on three treys, and the Rockets out scored Crete-Monee 29-13 in the third quarter to build a 74-43 cushion.
"We just pressed them on defense, and really executed the way we intended to," Rich East coach George Leonard said. "I felt bad that Cappel had to play without two starters tonight, but we still had to go out and play to win."
Cappel can only hope his kids can put this one behind them the next time they take the court. On a night his team finished with 27 turnovers and shot just 20 of 50 from the floor, along with a dismal 11 of 22 showing from the free throw line, Cappel said the Warriors can only go one direction after the blowout.
"Hopefully up," he said. "We should look much better than this once we get everyone back into the mix.