SHENANDOAH – Underwood scored the game’s first five points and continued to pull away from Shenandoah in a 66-45 win, Monday, Dec. 2 that opened the season for both teams.
The Eagles used an 8-0 run in the opening period to lead 18-7 after one quarter.
The Eagles scored two baskets for about every one Shenandoah basket in the second quarter as the lead was pushed to 36-18 at half.
The teams traded baskets for the first 3:30 of the third quarter, but a 15-0 Eagle run stretching into the fourth quarter started the running clock at 62-27. Eagle head coach Brad Blum went deeper into his bench at that point and Shenandoah responded with a game-ending 16-2 run for the final margin.
Braden Knight and Blake Herold scored 11 points to lead the Mustangs.
“We had four guys score near double figures,” Mustangs coach Derek Howard said after the game. “We had a good run at the end, but on the other side we gave up a few of those runs. There were times we were close and one thing wouldn’t go our way and that turned into two or three things. It was the first game, we knew it would be a little sloppy.”
The Mustangs switched between man and zone defenses much of the game, and Howard said there were a couple reasons for that.
“They had two big strong posts and we aren’t very thick,” said Howard, “so we thought zone might be good for us. In man we defended them pretty well, but they did a good job of dissecting our 1-3-1 zone. We’re just trying to switch things up until we find something that works.”
Anthony Stogdill and Brody Owen added eight points each for the Mustangs. Howard said the offense should continue to come around this season, and a faster pace should help going forward.
“We have guys that can score,” said Howard. “When we push the ball in transition we were able to get good looks, but when we jogged into our offense we struggled to score. Hopefully we can keep pushing the ball and getting those layups in transition, getting the ball into the paint and kicking it out to open shooters.”
Conner Birt dished out seven assists and added four steals while Herold led the Mustangs on the glass with eight rebounds.
Shenandoah returns to the court Tuesday at Southwest Valley.
Blake Hall led three Eagles in double figures with 15 points.