SAVANNAH, Mo. — The Maryville Spoofhounds have had three practices as a complete team. They also have three wins and one championship over that same stretch.
The Spoofhounds came out strong on Saturday against Platte County in the championship game of the Savannah Invitational and never trailed in a 64-46 victory that marked the first time since 2009 that Maryville has won the Savannah Invitational.
“I think it shows how much talent we have on this team to come out here in our third game with only two or three practices together and be able to win by 20 points in the championship game of a tournament,” Maryville senior Eli Dowis said. “I just think it speaks to how talented we are and how high our ceiling is.”
The game started with a great sign for Spoofhound fans as Dowis hit a three to open the scoring. Dowis, a sensational all-around player, struggled with his three-point shot last year, but showed on Saturday that he worked hard on that aspect of his game over the summer and hit a trio of first-half threes.
“I played with the KC Pacers this season and the coaches there really helped me fix my jump shot,” Dowis said. “They helped me with my mechanics and it carried over to this game.”
After the Pirates briefly tied the game at three, Maryville junior Tate Oglesby scored, senior Creid Stoecklein hit a three and a Matthew Madden free throw gave the Hounds a 9-3 lead.
Maryville finished the opening quarter with a 17-13 lead as Jaden Hayes and Dowis added to the three-point barrage late in the quarter.
“It kind of feels like we are the Warriors with the way we get out and shoot so many threes,” Dowis said. “The way we can shoot the ball, I think it helps because we aren’t going to be the bigger team this year, but we will be the faster team.”
Oglesby took the game over in the second quarter as the Spoofhounds spaced the floor for the junior and he took advantage. Oglesby scored the first nine points of a 15-3 run for the Spoofhounds to extend the lead to 32-16.
“Things started to open up a lot,” Oglesby said. “Obviously we were feeling good about ourselves and scoring a lot of points. Once that happens, everything opens up.”
Platte County finally ended the run with a basket, but Dowis immediately came back down the floor with a three and another score.
The capper for the 22-5 quarter came as the clock was ticking down and Matt Stoecklein tried to call a set-play from last season, but with the limited practice they’ve had some of the players who weren’t on varsity last year didn’t know the play. With the confusion, Dowis ended up firing a very long three with five seconds left.
“It was a little bit of a heat check,” Dowis said.
But in what was a perfect summation of the first half, Dowis’ three bounced out, but Tallon Noland attacked the offensive glass and got the put-back for a 39-18 halftime lead.
Senior Tyler Houchin found his stroke in the third quarter with eight points including a pair of threes and the Hounds ended the period in style again. After the Pirates hit a free throw with three seconds left in the quarter, Maryville quickly inbounded to Dowis who immediately threw it ahead to Madden at midcourt, who turned and found Hayes, who knocked down a long three for a 56-30 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“They have played together for a long time and when one guy starts to get covered up then another guy starts hitting,” Matt Stoecklein said. “Who are you going to guard?”
The team was able to coast in the fourth quarter and get its bench plenty of action in route to the 64-46 win.
“It is scary what can happen when they start executing better and get in just a little better shape,” Matt Stoecklein said. “Hopefully they continue this trend throughout the season.”
Oglesby and Dowis each were selected to the all-tournament team as Oglesby had 17 points and Dowis had 15 in the championship game.
Houchin joined them in double figures with 10 — all in the second half — while Creid Stoecklein, Madden and Hayes each added six and Ben Walker and Noland each had two.
The Spoofhounds will travel to Benton on Tuesday to face off with the Cardinals in a non-conference contest.