Mohawk thumps SE Posted on February 6, 2023 0 Loose ball battle Mohawk’s Brayden Chester (24) fights for a rebound with a Seneca East player Saturday night. Chester led the Warriors with 14 points as Mohawk dominated the Tigers 61-30.Daily Chief-Union/Brian Hemminger By BRIAN HEMMINGER City editor SYCAMORE — Mohawk had a genius key to victory Saturday night against Northern 10 Athletic Conference foe Seneca East. Keep the other team from scoring. The Warriors did just that, jumping out to a massive 25-0 lead before Seneca East’s Lucas Bordner finally made a free throw nearly halfway through the second quarter en route to a 61-30 victory over the Tigers. “When we started the season, we talked about if we wanted to be a good team and have the type of season we wanted to have, we’ve got to play defense,” Mohawk coach Paul Dunn said. “We challenged our kids all year. We’re typically a zone team but I challenged our kids to play man-to-man and I thought our kids really took up the challenge of that one-on-one aspect and winning your matchups and it showed tonight.” Saturday night marked the second consecutive game that Mohawk (18-2, 10-2 N10) jumped out to a double-digit lead before allowing the opposing team to score, having also ran out in front 11-0 Friday against Wynford. “Notoriously this season it feels like we’ve been slow starters,” Dunn said. “We’ve finally getting to the point where we understood the importance of how you start the game is going to give you a best chance to win the game. The last few games, we’ve taken to that and it’s been a lot because of our defense. When our guys are focused on that end of the floor, it just leads to easier offense for us. It lets us get into a rhythm and a flow on offense.” Mohawk led 16-0 at the end of the first quarter and maintained a 32-5 lead at halftime. A huge factor for the Warriors was dribble penetration as Bryce Hannam, Boomer Cleveland and Kayne Hayman repeatedly drove past their defenders on the perimeter and either put up a layup, found AJ Hess on the opposite post or found an open look outside. “Our mindset coming in was we wanted to get it inside to AJ,” Dunn said. “He’s our weapon inside. I told our guards that if they’re gonna guard us at 25 or 30 feet, we’ve got to get downhill and win those matchups. I thought our guards did a great job attacking downhill and then finding out shooters on kickouts like (Brayden) Chester. Great job by our offense. They did a really good job executing.” The Warriors got 14 points from Chester, 13 points from Hess, 12 from Hayman and 11 from Cleveland in a balanced scoring night. “We’ve got a multitude of guys that can score the basketball,” Dunn said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that have put in a lot of time to become the shooters they are.” Seneca East (12-7, 6-6 N10) finally had a strong quarter on offense in the third quarter, putting up 17 points, but Mohawk still outscored the Tigers 21-17. In the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, a pair of free throws by Hayman gave the Warriors a 36-point lead and the running clock never stopped the rest of the way. Seneca East was led offensively by Isaac Mason, who scored 13 points. No one else on the Tigers had more than six points. “Our attention to the little things was really good tonight. It really showed in the game,” Dunn said. Mohawk won the junior varsity game 37-28. Kaleb Bish led the Warriors with 14 points. Mohawk is off until hosting Colonel Crawford at 6 p.m. Friday. SENECA EAST (12-7, 6-6 N10): I. Mason 6-0-13, Bordner 2-1-6, Foos 1-2-4, Hines 1-0-2, L. Mason 1-0-2, Heiberthausen 1-0-2, Beamer 0-1-1. Totals 12 4-9 30. MOHAWK (18-2, 10-2 N10): Chester 6-0-14, Hess 5-2-13, Hayman 2-4-12, Cleveland 4-3-11, Fry 2-2-6, Hannam 2-0-4, Bish 0-1-1. Totals 22 12-20 61 3-point goals: Chester 2, Hayman 2, Hess, I. Mason, Bordner. Score by quarters Seneca East 0 5 17 8 — 30 Mohawk 16 16 21 5 — 61 Junior varsity: Mohawk won 37-28.