It was a performance to be proud of at any point in the season.
But for opening night, Dubuque Senior couldn’t have asked for much more.
Behind an explosive first quarter, The Rams blitzed visiting Davenport Central en route to a 60-43 wire-to-wire victory in the season opener for both schools on Tuesday evening at Nora Gym.
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Jonathon Wille and heralded freshman Tevin Schultz led Senior with 13 points apiece, Jacob Williams added 12, and Devonta Jackson and Walker Tart contributed eight points each to lead a balanced Ram attack.
Jamarion Readus netted a game-high 23 points for Davenport Central, but no other Blue Devil recorded more than six.
“I told the guys that was about the best first quarter that I’ve had in a season opener,” Senior coach Wendell Eimers said. “It was huge.”
It was equally impressive on both ends of the floor for the Rams after the opening tip. Jacob Williams kick started and bookended Senior’s scoring surge in the first quarter with baskets that opened and closed a 17-0 run to start the game.
But he was far from the only contributor.
Six different Rams recorded buckets by the 2:45 mark of the first quarter before the Blue Devils put a dent in the scoreboard.
“Defensively, I just thought our kids were all locked in as a group,” Eimers said. “And offensively, we got out front and created some easy shots. It was all just great execution.”
Tart’s second 3-pointer of the first quarter made it 20-3, and Schultz followed with a triple of his own to close an emphatic first frame with a 23-3 lead. But the Rams pounced defensively as well.
Senior afforded Davenport Central very few uncontested looks at the basket, highlighted by Jackson’s back-to-back crowd-igniting blocks.
Jalen Johnson’s basket off a steal from Hayden Jacobsmeier gave Senior its largest lead of the half, 33-11, at 4:03 of the second, and Wille was true from long range at 1:31 to take a 37-15 advantage.
“Every time, we had about three guys running to the rim on fast breaks,” Wille said. “Being able to share the ball and that chemistry we all have; we love being around each other. We all just trust each other and that works for us.”
The Rams didn’t allow the Blue Devils to climb much closer in the second half, maintaining a comfortable margin throughout. Johnson’s bucket off an inbound pass put Senior ahead, 49-26, and Jackson’s 3-pointer matched the Rams’ biggest advantage of the night, 52-29, at 1:11 of the third.
“I see great potential,” Wille said. “We’ve had success winning a lot of games all summer and fall, so hopefully we can make a run in the tournament this year. That’s our main goal.”
As dominant as the Rams were on Tuesday, Eimers knows there’s always room for improvement.
“I know when I watch the tape, we’re gonna look like a pretty good team in the first quarter, but when I watch the third and fourth, I know there will be plenty of stuff to work on,” he said.