NORTH ADAMS, MA – 20-point efforts from James Heskett and Kyle Scadlock helped the No. 3 ranked Williams Ephs (3-0) defeat the MCLA Trailblazers 97-70. After trailing for much of the first half, the Ephs settled into an offensive groove in the second to break open the game.
"Anytime you can win and still have a lot of areas for improvement, that's what you want in the beginning of the season," said Williams Head Coach Kevin App. "We talk about how good we can be on defense, but we still have to build the trust within this group. I thought we were better in the second half."
Despite two strong wins to start the season, the Ephs have struggled to find a rhythm from behind the three-point arc. This all seemed to change when Williams buried their first three attempts of the game to take an early 11-6 lead. But MCLA proved formidable in the early going, draining 4 of 5 from long range in the game's first three minutes. Neither team could create serious separation until the Trail Blazers went on a 10-0 run in less than two minutes to take a 33-23 lead midway through the half.
Facing an early double-digit deficit on the road, Williams head coach Kevin App encouraged his team to pound the ball inside where the Ephs enjoyed a substantial height advantage. Forwards Matt Karpowicz and Kyle Scadlock found some quality looks around the basket to keep Williams close. The two players combined for 17 points in the half.
Despite their hot start from outside, the Ephs' shooting woes came rushing back, missing nine consecutive three-point attempts. But MCLA did not fare much better, and Williams' dominance inside allowed them to claw at the Trail Blazers' lead. Finally, with 3:07 remaining in the half, Cole Teal attacked the basket and made a difficult layup to give Williams a 39-38 lead. It was their first lead since the 12:30 mark. Five straight points by Bobby Casey helped the Ephs close the half on a 10-2 run to bring the halftime score to 44-40.
"In the first half we didn't have the energy and effort that was needed on defense," said Williams head coach Kevin App. "We gave them a lot of in-rhythm shots, which they knocked down in the first half."
At the half, Williams held a decisive 26-16 edge in rebounds, including 7-2 on the offensive boards.
Entering the second half with a four-point lead on the Trailblazers, the Ephs rapidly sped up their scoring, taking a commanding 17-point lead around the 12:50 mark in the second half. Casey found his rhythm in the second frame knocking down two consecutive threes five minutes into the half. The Trail Blazers would cut it to 72-57 with 9:02 left on a three by Hayden Bird.
Taking advantage of their depth, Williams increased the tempo of the game in the second half. As a result, the Ephs' lead would balloon to 31 with 6:30 left in the game. As a result, Coach App was able to give younger players meaningful minutes.
"The younger guys that don't get as many minutes are a big part of what we do and how we get better," said Coach App. "It's nice when we can reward them with a few minutes for their hard work."
Scadlock completed his third double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds, not to mention a team-high 5 assists. Heskett added 20 points and 8 rebounds. Casey, Teal, and Karpowics finished with 14, 12, and 10 points respectively.
Noah Yearsley led the Trailblazers with 16 points.
The Ephs play their next game on Sunday November 26th at home against Yeshiva at 2 p.m.