STURGIS — A 4-1 start of the season has Sturgis boys' basketball coach Colin McCampbell anxious to see where the Scoopers can go this season.
A dominating 65-39 win over St. Thomas More Friday night has the Scoopers wanting to keep grinding.
"If you have told me three weeks ago that this is where we would be sitting, 4-1 and a two-point loss to Aberdeen Central, I'd be happy with that," McCampbell said. "Now that we are there, let's make this the low point of the season and try to get better.
"Our emphasis during the Christmas break next week is to get better during those practices. You have to grind on each other a little bit, which is not what we have done with five game back-to-back-to-back like this."
Earlier on Friday, the St. Thomas More girls remained unbeaten with an impressive 65-42 win over an improved Sturgis squad.
Although the point-spread wasn't close for much of the boys' game, in McCampbell's mind, it was a closer game. He said both teams played hard and he is happy with his team's effort.
"I thought we shot the ball pretty well tonight,' McCampbell said. "Obviously when you make nine 3s, that helps. That team (STM), if they shoot a little better, obviously we have a better ballgame on our hands, and they have the ability to do that."
Sturgis scored it's first six points inside, but went to it's bread-and-butter, it's outside game. The Scoopers hit 9-of-23 3-pointers, including 5-of-7 by senior Connor Crane, who led all scorers with 22 points.
"We have more options inside than we had last year," McCampbell said. "Now we can go get that inside-outside game. We have to get better at it. Our motion offense has to be better than it is going forward if we are going to be successful later in the season."
Other than a 2-0 STM start, the Scoopers led the rest of the way and dominated at times.
Sturgis jumped out to a 16-4 advantage before STM's Jake Bonekamp hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the lead to 19-9 at the end of the first quarter.
The Scoopers maintained a 10-12 point edge in the second before Crane returned the last-second heroics favor with a late 3 for a 33-18 halftime lead.
Sturgis got some breathing room as Crane's fifth 3-pointer put the Scoopers up by 21 before STM's Ryan Wojcik hit a 2-pointer at the buzzer to make it a 47-28 game with one period to play.
Ryan Garland scored five straight to open the fourth to officially put the game away.
It was a tough game for the young Cavaliers, who fell to 1-3 on the season.
"They (Sturgis) have a nice team," STM coach Dave Hollenbeck said. "They are athletic and they have some guys who can shoot the ball. They knocked us around on the boards and we didn't do a good job of blocking out at times. We compounded that problem with some silly turnovers that you can't afford to do against a team like this."
Sturgis, which was 24-of-50 from the field, also saw Garland score 15 points.
"We have kids who can score, even when we don't have good offense. So now we have to get better offense, and we're going to score maybe even more efficiently," McCampbell said as his team returns to action Jan. 2 when it hosts Lead-Deadwood.
Hollenbeck said they have to find ways to get better and they didn't Friday night.
"Our effort wasn't good enough to allow us to get better," he said. "We have to fix some things on the effort side of it, and hopefully we can get a little better."
Kale Landguth led the Cavaliers with 13 points as STM was just 15-of-41 from the field.
St. Thomas More returns to action next Friday and Saturday when they host the Cavalier Christmas Classic at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center with Aberdeen Roncalli, Madison and Belle Fourche also competing.
STM girls turn to defense again for big win
For the first eight minutes, the Scoopers had some hope after putting up 16 points and only trailing by six.
The 16 first-quarter points were half of what St. Thomas More had given up on average through the first three games this season.
But Sturgis didn't score again until two minutes remaining in the half and the Cavaliers outscored the Scoopers 36-11 in the second and third quarters.
STM coach Brandon Kandolin said it was a fast first quarter, and he liked the way his team responded.
"I thought we did some better things than we had been doing lately as far as the tempo of the game," he said. "We took advantage of some easy ones. They did too and made some plays at the start. They were able to get some offensive rebounds to get going. Once we took care of that, it slowed them down and we were able to pick apart the zone and get some easy looks."
St. Thomas More took a 34-18 lead into the locker room at halftime and completely broke the game open early in the third, scoring 11 unanswered points, including consecutive 3-pointers by Jayden Bies, Klaire Kirsch and Alex Kandolin.
"They (STM) are unbelievable; they can make shots from every position on the court, and that is tough to match up with," Sturgis coach Jordan Proefrock said.
The Cavaliers led 58-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
"In that third quarter we executed well and ran some sets. When you knock down shots like that, it sure jumps the lead up in a hurry," Brandon Kandolin said. "We played a pretty solid game all of the way around."
The Scoopers battled back some in the fourth to outscore STM 15-7.
"(Sturgis) is a good team and is very athletic and are very aggressive," Kandolin said. "They have a lot of parts and pieces, and when they put it together, they can be a pretty good team."
Aislinn Duffy led a balanced Cavalier attack with 18 points, followed by Bies with 13 and Kirsch with 11.
Janz paced the Scoopers with 16 points and Loralee Stock added 11.
"I'm just proud of how my girls battled," Proefrock said. "This is my fourth year here and it seems like every year we get better. This one we battled for four quarters."
The Cavaliers, 4-0, return to action next Friday and Saturday when they host the Cavalier Christmas Classic at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center with Aberdeen Roncalli, Madison and Belle Fourche also competing.
Sturgis, 2-4, returns after the break and hosts Lead-Deadwood on Jan. 2.