The Northwestern Trojans used a 26-2 first quarter and went on to double up the Lancaster Bruins, 74-37, in the Region 3-AAAA opener for both teams.
The Trojans forced 13 first-quarter turnovers as they seemingly clogged up every passing lane for Lancaster. On offense, they patiently waited for the open shot. Zach Beaver hit three 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the game. Patrick Cunningham also canned a long ball to end the first-quarter onslaught.
Northwestern scored the first nine points of the game. Lancaster's Robert Fletcher got the Bruins on the board with a layup. The Trojans then reeled off 21 straight points to take a 30-2 edge early in the second quarter.
Beaver started the run with a triple from the left wing. Will King followed with a drive down the lane. Beaver connected on another 3-pointer and King finished a fast break with a layup.
A pair of King free throws, a tip-in from Montavious Gayten and a long ball from Cunningham closed out a near-perfect first quarter for the Trojans.
Lancaster entered the game with a 4-0 record. Northwestern came in 0-4.
Mike Gossett could be heard throughout the game yelling for his Trojans to "take your time" on offense.
After the game, the Northwestern coach couldn't slow down with praise for his team's effort.
"I hope that's not the best we can play, but that's as good as we've been this year," he said.
"The only thing I see from this game that we didn't do well was blocking out. The first half was as good a half as we can play. I always coach for our guys to take away the passing lanes. We did that really well tonight."
Northwestern will host South Pointe on Tuesday in another region test.
Lancaster will be at home to take on York.
"As far as we're concerned, we are 1-0," Gossett said. "We played two very good teams (Spartanburg and Dorman, two times each) and we lost each game. These are region games, and this is when it counts."
Northwestern got 38 points off the bench. Cunningham was the leading scorer with 15 points. King, fresh off the football field, added 13. Taylor Shugart scored 13 and pulled down nine rebounds.
"We played hard, smart and we didn't care who scored. That's the way we have to play to win," Gossett said.
Northwestern led by 30, 45-15, with 3:55 to go in the third quarter.
Cunningham started a 7-0 run with a move inside. King followed with a 3-pointer. Gayten had an offensive rebound and a score. Doug Sellers' bucket gave the Trojans its largest lead of the game, 54-15.
Lancaster has shooters with Shurdell Wright, Michael Catoe and Xavier Holloway. But this was not the night the Bruins' shooting was showcased.
Committing nine turnovers in the first five-plus minutes of the game may have caused some stress. Trying to climb out of a 31-point, first-half hole probably led to some forced shots.
The trio combined for just 15 points.
"They have some good shooters. They are a tough matchup for us," Gossett said. "We were able to pressure them and force them to put the ball on the floor.
"You never know in this game. January 18 we go over to their place, and it could be a totally different game."
NORTHWESTERN 74, LANCASTER 37