Merkel was going toe-to-toe with Big Spring heading into the second quarter, but in a flash, it looked like that never happened.
A strong second-quarter run propelled Big Spring past Merkel Friday 70-43 in the Steers’ first home game in almost a month.
Luke Adams led with 19 points, but Tristian Clay and Marc Segundo were as impressive with 14 and 10, respectively.
“They kind of did whatever they wanted that first quarter, especially down low,” BSHS head coach Cliff Thompson said. “Their post guys were doing a good job of getting some layups. We kind of challenged them in between quarters and told them, ‘That’s not what we’re about.’”
The Steers got the memo and a 19-0 run to start the second quarter proved that.
Segundo got the run started by giving the Steers a 15-13 lead with a bucket. Clay’s 3-pointer with a little more than six minutes left gave Big Spring an 18-13. Then Adams made a shot, Segundo hit a 3-pointer and Clay came back with another bucket for a 25-13 lead. Meahwhile, the Badgers turned the ball over twice and missed a basket on consecutive possessions.
Adams scored again and Chazzell Robertson had a 3-point play before Merkel hit its first point of the quarter off a free throw at the 2:46 mark, making the score 30-14 Big Spring.
And it still wasn’t a field goal. The Badgers did without that the whole quarter, facilitating the Big Spring run.
The two keys in that second-quarter run were strategies the Steers are trying to hand their hat on: a transition offense that was more up-tempo and a lot of stingy defense.
“We started playing our offense,” Segundo said. “We started playing our game. We started moving the ball. We started feeding the post.”
The Badgers scored six more points in the second after that free throw, while the Steers continued to thrive. It was a 38-20 lead for Big Spring heading into halftime after Merkel had a 13-11 lead heading into the second quarter.
Big Spring outscored Merkel 27-7 in the second. All of those seven points for Merkel came off free throws, which make Clay believe defense in addition to the more up-tempo offense played a huge part in the run.
“We stopped them and kept them from getting into the lane,”he said. ... I love that. I love to see us in transition offense. We’re unstoppable in transition offense.”
Segundo noted the Steers didn’t hold Merkel under 40 points Friday, which is a goal every game for the Steers. He said it’s a realistic goal and could win a lot of games for Big Spring this season.
Clay said things are steadily coming together for the Steers, too, and by the time District 5-3A play begins on Jan.14, the team should have any kinks worked out.
Defense and rebounding has been a focal point for Big Spring, along with handling the box-and-one defense on offense, which is aimed to hinder Adams.