CLINTON — Easton Valley might have won by 22 points Thursday in Central Catholic Auditorium, but the looks on the faces of the River Hawks told a slightly different story, knowing they can play much better.
The River Hawks (18-2) took care of Marquette Catholic 61-39 behind a swift first-half performance that included posting 31 points on the scoreboard. After that, Easton Valley coach Dan Beck said his team went away from the things that made that 31-point half so remarkable.
“In the first half, we made a good run, and then the things we were productive of in our zone offense, we quit doing them,” Beck said. “We let them get back in the game a little bit; when we execute our zone offense and show some patience, we’re pretty tough to stop.
“I thought we relied on shooting from the perimeter too much, and you can’t do that when you know you can get layups on that defense.”
River Hawks center Logan Wilhelm agreed that his team’s offense didn’t click as smoothly as the game progressed.
“We were passing too much, making poor passes at times, and not playing as well as we could have, but I guess a win is a win,” Wilhelm said.
Marquette’s smallest deficit came in the fourth quarter when it trailed 46-35 with seven minutes to go before Easton Valley posted a 15-4 run to end the Mohawks’ season.
Chase Zaruba was tough to stop for the Mohawks (8-13). Zaruba, who averaged nearly 24 points a game in the regular season, scored 31 points overall and 16 points in the first quarter.
“Zaruba is just a really good player and really quick,” Marquette coach Joel Sieverding said. “The problem is, if you stop his shot outside, he just takes it inside; he’s just a very good player.”