DWIGHT — Coal City center Nick Peters had seen enough in the early going of Friday night's Interstate Eight Conference basketball game. While the hosting Trojans came out playing inspired ball at the start, at the same time the play by the Coalers was less than inspiring, and Peters had to stop that.
The 6-6 post player helped snap his team out of that early malaise with the first of his four blocked shots on the night towards the end of the first quarter, then came out and scored the first 10 points by his team in the second in what turned out to be a runaway win by the Coalers, 63-36, at Kresl Memorial Gymnasium.
"We came out sluggish," Peters admitted afterwards. "We weren't getting good looks and were settling on outside shots. We also were making bad passes."
Dwight actually led 6-2 at 4:22 of the first quarter when Coalers' coach Brad Boresi had to call a timeout.
"I'm not going to make any excuses for the slow start," he said. "They (the Trojans) were making shots and we were careless with the ball. I had to call a time out and after that we finished the first quarter well and got on a nice run in the second quarter where we put the game away."
Joe Micetich hit a three-point field goal out of the stoppage but then Peters had the key block that really turned the game for good. Jon West went on to hit two free throws, Micetich got another basket and Lane Cowherd added a hoop afterwards forcing Dwight to call a timeout.
"After (the block) we turned up the pressure on defense," Peters said. "We forced them into making mistakes and taking bad shots."
So much so that Dwight would go the final nine minutes in the first half without scoring a field goal. In fact, Coal City (6-8, 2-2) limited the Trojans to two free throws by Ryley Christoff in building a 41-13 halftime lead.
But it started with the blocked shot by Peters.
"At Plano he was averaging three or four blocked shots per game," Boresi pointed out. "He does a good job of coming off the help side and alters shots. Not only that, but when he blocks a shot, we usually have a chance to recover it."
Peters said that part of his success is due to his 6-6 frame.
"My size gets me a few blocked shots a game," he said. "If it also forces the other team to change things and make another pass, that's better for us too."
Cowherd snapped Peters' scoring streak at the start of the second but Coal City was in full throttle at that point and finished the half on a 15-0 run.
Cowherd finished with 12 points on the night and Micetich added 13 to fall in behind the 14 by Peters. Peters ended with a double-double by finishing with 14 rebounds.
"It's nice to have guys scoring like that — inside and outside," Peters said. "We were hitting the open shots and finishing at the basket. We were doing the things we needed to do."
At one point early in the third quarter, Coal City got its lead to 30 points (44-14) which led to plenty of cleanup time for the subs.
"It was a good chance for everyone to get in and to get a chance to play," Boresi said. "Some of them got the chance to score, too. That's nice to see because they work hard in practice, too."