STANTON -- The O’Neill boys, with an inside-outside scoring attack, scored 44 first-half points to take control early in the championship game of Stanton’s Holiday Basketball Tournament Tuesday night.

The Eagles then scored 21 more points--including a 19-2 run--in the third quarter to cruise to a 76-50 win over the host Mustangs.

The bulk of O’Neill’s scoring in the first half came from multiple sources--three juniors--including 16 points from six-foot six Tyler Regan, a transfer from O’Neill St. Marys, who went on to finish with a game-high 27 points; 14 points from guard Justin Appleby, who contributed four 3-point shots--typically finding open shots when the Mustangs used a 2-3 zone to restrict Regan’s inside scoring--and finished with 18 points; and seven more points from guard Jake Young, all instrumental in the first quarter as the Eagles were creating a 22-11 lead.

“Tyler is a work horse, a good athlete who wants the ball and finds ways to get it,” O’Neill coach Seth Kallhoff said. “It’s his first year in our system, and he’s just starting to learn; he’s been a great addition for us.”

Regan’s size, along with another six-foot six player--Walker Liewer, who scored 11 points--were problematic for the Mustangs, whose tallest player was listed at six-foot two.

“We needed to shoot the ball pretty well; we knew that coming in because they were a lot bigger than us,” Stanton coach Bryan Mendlik said. “We shot the ball okay, but our defense wasn’t up to par. With a big team, and a very good team, like that it showed pretty early.”

“We made the decision to front them (inside players) to start the game, because in the one loss they have the other team--which is basically built like us--fronted them,” he said. “We didn’t do a very good job of it right off the bat, and they sealed us to get some easy baskets. Give credit to them; they shot the ball very well.”

The Eagles shot over 58 percent from the field, making 25 of 43 shots, and made 19 of 21 free throws in the game.

Paced by a game-opening 3 and a three-point play by Regan on consecutive possessions, the Eagles led grabbed a 6-0 lead and Stanton would never get any closer than five points, at 9-4.

Regan, who would later add back-to-back offensive rebound-putbacks, got help in the form of 3’s by Young and Appleby to establish the 22-11 first-quarter advantage before countering Stanton’s best offensive effort--five points from Trey Erbst, who finished with 15 points, and eight from the Mustangs’ leading scorer, junior Myles Nickolite, who totaled 18 points--with three 3-point shots by Appleby and another by Hostert, along with four points by Regan.

A 19-2 run to open the third quarter lasted until an Erbst three-point play with 1:19 to play stopped what had become a 35-point O’Neill lead at 63-28, and the Mustangs would come no closer than the 26-point margin, 76-50, at game’s end.

Kallhoff mixed occasional 1-3-1 zone into his defensive game plan, but felt his team’s need to improve its “on-ball defense” and Stanton’s 3-point shooting required mostly man-to-man.

“We knew that they have very good guards, and we’re just not very good on-ball defenders right now,” he said. “There’s teams out there that exploit our 1-3-1 really well, and we’re going to face them in our district so we can’t live with it--there’s no doubt. So we’re continuing to work on all pieces of our game and develop different ways to stop teams.”

With the championship win, the second in Kallhoff’s five-year stint as the Eagles’ head coach, O’Neill improves to 6-1 on the season while Stanton slips to 7-2.

Stanton Holiday Tournament boys championship

O’Neill .............................. 22 22 21 11 -- 76

Stanton ........................... 11 15 7 17 -- 50

O’Neill (6-1): Alex Thramer 2-5 2-2 6, Justin Appleby 6-11 2-2 18, Corbin Dean 0-0 2-2 2, Jake Young 3-8 0-0 7, Austin Hilker 0-1 0-0 0, Tyson Hostert 2-2 1-1 6, Tyler Regan 8-12 9-10 27, Walker Liewer 4-8 3-4 11. Totals: 25-43 19-21 76.

Stanton (7-2): Brook Klinetobe 0-7 0-0 0, Kyle Sperl 3-11 2-2 9, Broderick Sieh 0-1 0-0 0, Josh Krentz 1-2 0-0 2, Henry Bohac 0-0 2-2 2, Christian Stallbaum 0-1 0-0 0, Myles Nickolite 8-10 0-0 18, Mitchael Sieh 1-3 0-0 2, Trey Erbst 5-12 3-5 15, Parker Theisen 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 19-44 7-9 50.

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