Laingsburg jumped out early on St. Johns and never looked back, nailing seven 3-pointers in a 50-37 win over the Redwings in nonleague action on Thursday.
Junior Matt Cyrus led the Wolfpack with 12 points and had two triples while senior Jacob Zielinksi also had two makes from behind the arc and added 11 points for Laingsburg.
“We are very prone to shooting the ball well. We had 19 threes in the last two games so we’re definitely looking to shoot,” Zielinski said.
“The last few games we’ve been shooting it really well. We had a streak there where we shot well,” Laingsburg coach Greg Mitchell said. “The ball movement was very important. (St. Johns is) very physical and they were all over us and we’ve got to connect and to move their defense is what we targeted. I didn’t think we did enough of that long enough, but there were a couple streaks where it was great.”
One of those streaks took place right after the opening tip, as Laingsburg (6-1) started on a 10-2 run.
Zielinski hit two 3-pointers and made an athletic layup as time ran out in the first quarter to finish with eight points in the opening period — as many as the Redwings had as a team during that time.
“There’s no question he’s our best athlete. Sometimes he tries a little bit too hard or wants to do too much and it’s because he loves the game and he loves our team,” Mitchell said of Zielinski. “Tonight he handled adversity really well. He had gotten in early foul trouble, but he made plays that really made the difference for us.”
Up 39-32 in the fourth, Zielinski collected an inbound pass from underneath the basket after a timeout and scored to put the Wolfpack up nine points.
Zielinski also had a steal late in the fourth and pulled the ball out to run more time off the clock to help preserve the win.
Senior Josh Hafner led St. Johns (4-2) with 10 points, but the Redwings struggled to score and their guards found it difficult to penetrate and get the ball inside to 6-foot-6 sophomore Austin Ervin and 6-foot-7 junior Matt Pearsall.
Laingsburg held the pair to just 13 points combined.
“We just struggle with quick teams,” St. Johns coach Denny Baratono said. “We got good big people and they don’t get the ball enough. Size doesn’t matter if you can’t get the ball to the big guys. That’s the key for us, any time we match up with their guards we’re all right, but any time we don’t we struggle.”