SYCAMORE — Led by Sam Stoner’s third-quarter scoring barrage, Sycamore downed Sandwich 63-39 in the Spartans’ Interstate Eight Conference opener Friday.
The senior connected on five of six 3-point shots and sank four free throws in the opening eight minutes of the second half to break the game wide open. Sycamore opened the second half with a nine-point lead, 23-14. Stoner, who led all scorers with 23 points, accounted for all but two of the Spartans’ third-quarter points. The team ended the frame with a comfortable19-point advantage, 44-25.
“Sam struggled a little bit in the first half but when he came out in the second half, he was a lot more aggressive and made a couple of shots and it just kind of steamrolled from there,” said Sycamore coach Andrew Stacy, “It was a good time for him to get it going, it opened up the game.”
“I just got hot as the game went on. My teammates kept looking for me, so I appreciate that,” Stoner said. “I kept finding the open space.”
Both teams struggled to score in the first quarter. Sycamore scored the first points of the night with Tyler York bucket at the 6:47 mark. The Indians got on the board after two and half minutes of play on an Evan Gottlieb layup. The junior guard scored 12points for Sandwich (0-5, 0-1). Both teams managed to find the net only four times in the first quarter that ended in an 8-8 tie.
Sycamore (2-2, 1-0) pulled ahead early in the second quarter on Stoner’s first two points of the night when he sank a pair of three throws. Jaxon Tierney (11 points) followed with his first of three treys to make it a five-point game, 13-8. The Spartans finished the half with a 10-6 run.
Stoner’s favorite location in the third quarter was on the left wing. The senior made four of his five treys from that sport.
“They started off with a two-three zone and then they went man-to-man. We didn’t do a good job of adjusting to that when they switched, but in the second half, we were a little more patient and as a result we got some good looks,” Stacy said. “And Sam took advantage of that.”
In the fourth quarter, Stacy rested his starters and gave his reserves including. Eli Meier, who rejoined the team this week since the football season ended, some extended playing time. The junior guard looked to be back in basketball shape scoring six of his eight points on layups in traffic.
“It was good to see that, he is one of our football guys that just came back,” the Sycamore coach said. “It was good to see that out of him.”
“I think in the first half we played well. In the second half, it was a lot of small things that did us in,”. said Sandwich coach Kevin Kozan. “It’s game five of 32. It’s a long season, we are learning and getting better every day.”