It didn't take long for Anthony Wayne to take control of Monday night's Northern Lakes League boys basketball contest with Napoleon.
The host Generals jumped out to a 17-4 lead in the first quarter and cruised to a comfortable 66-30 victory over the defending league champion Wildcats.
The recipe for the win required few ingredients in a limited amount of time before it was clear the game was a done deal.
AW's 6-foot-10 center Mark Donnal served as the main ingredient, pouring in a game-high 28 points and grabbing a game-high 17 rebounds. The Michigan-bound recruit scored 14 points before halftime to lead the Generals (4-0, 2-0 NLL) into the break with an overwhelming 33-5 advantage.
A tough night shooting the basketball for Napoleon senior sharpshooter Jordan Lauf also contributed to the lopsided outcome. The University of Toledo-bound 6-5 guard led the Wildcats (1-2, 0-2) with a team-high nine points, but he didn't make his first field goal until just over five minutes remained in the third quarter.
Blake Dunbar and Clay Hunter had five points apiece for Napoleon.
"I thought we set the tone early defensively," said AW coach Bryan Borcherdt, whose team outscored Napoleon 16-1 in the second quarter to help build a 28-point halftime edge.
Napoleon coach Tim Badenhop summed up the night for the Wildcats.
"When you don't make your shots early, you get frustrated, but give credit to Anthony Wayne," Badenhop said.
Feeding the basketball inside to Donnal for point-blank looks at the basket was carried out often by the Generals. And AW's primary low-post threat made it look easy shooting over undersized eeeeeeeeNapoleon defenders.
But the defensive efforts by Jake Reid and Ose Omofoma on Lauf, who was playing the game with UT coach Tod Kowalczyk on hand, earned them compliments from their coach.
"Jake and Ose did a really good job of playing defense tonight," Borcherdt said.
After dropping both games to Napoleon a year ago, the Generals, who are considered favorites this year to compete for the NLL championship, were looking forward to the meeting.
Certainly Donnal, who outscored the Wildcats 8-4 in the opening quarter, came ready to play.
"I seem to play my best when we play against Napoleon," he said.
Yet, he had plenty of help making it a long night for the visitors.
Matt Fox provided 11 points, while Hunter Debo and Reid added six apiece for the Generals.
Donnal said he was even surprised by taking such a sizable lead over Napoleon into halftime.
"That's what we wanted to do, but I wasn't thinking something like that would actually happen," he said.
Although no one in the Generals locker room was thinking the game was basically over by the break, they left the locker room and returned to the court for the second half with plenty of confidence about remaining undefeated.
"It's a good feeling," Donnal said. "We're 4-0, but it's just the start of our season, and we're looking for an NLL championship."
The decisive win over Napoleon was certainly a good step in the right direction for the Generals.
Contact donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.
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