MIAMI — This was quite the home opener for the Miami boys.
The Wardogs held Vinita to single-digit scoring until the third quarter and coasted to a 68-31 victory Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Miami Activity Center.
“We kinda had the idea going in that we might be able to pressure them out of our zones like we did Diamond,” Miami coach Rusty Mercer said. “It’s something I don’t want to do all the time and live and die by. I wanted to get out to a good start. We went first two possessions man and said ‘OK, let’s see if we can get off to a good start.’
“I wanted to play with the lead and see if it bothered them. It did and we just kept it rolling until the half, then worked on our man in the second half.”
The Wardogs raced to a 15-0 lead in the opening frame then rolled into the half with a 41-9 advantage.
They continued to pull away in the second quarter with a 12-7 run and never looked back.
“I was really proud of our guys,” Mercer said. “I don’t think we ever played to the scoreboard. We kept preaching to remain solid and keep from being sloppy. We had a really mature approach to things.”
Kaleb Jinks was Miami’s leading scorer with 20 points.
Eli Lewis also was in double figures with 10.
Kai Hamilton and Drew Williams each had eight points, followed by Conner Womack with seven, Brant Morris, five; Matthew Crider and Eli Chenoweth, four each, and Grant Nolte, two.
“Our shooting percentage inside the 3-point line has really gone up,” Mercer said. “It’s been over almost 60 (percent) for three straight games now, even with Seneca in that loss.”
The Dogs hit 27 of 44 from inside the arc (61 percent) against Vinita and converted on four of their 12 shots from 3-point range.
“From our defense, we got some run outs and some turnovers,” Mercer said. “But with our offense, we were getting the ball to the rim. We don’t have a big post player, but we can spread people out and get to the paint.”
Junior Tanner Lambert had 13 points for Vinita, which fell to 0-6.
The Hornets hit only 10 of their 35 field goal attempts.
Miami hosts Inola Friday, Dec. 15 at the NEO Field House.
“It’s basically the same team we saw in districts last year,” Mercer said.
The Longhorns posted a 61-58 win in a Class 4A district tournament here last February.
“Those guards are back,” Mercer said. “It will be a different kind of test.”