Spruce Mountain senior forward Tate Walton goes up for a shot as Richmond’s Danny Stewart (32) and Kenny Bing (20) intervene in an MVC basketball game at The Nest in Jay on Friday night. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)

JAY — Spruce Mountain coach Scott Bessey saw no sense in leaving in his starters in or keeping up the pressure on Richmond after the Phoenix constructed a sturdy 41-9 halftime lead.

Bessey called up his reserves and called off his press in the second half as undefeated Spruce Mountain glided in with its third victory in row, a 67-27 win over the Bobcats (1-3) on Tuesday night at the Phoenix Dome.

The Spruce Mountain coach said running up the score serves no purpose against a team like the Bobcats, who are young and experiencing growing pains this season.

“We try to do it the right way,” Bessey said. “We took the press off when it got to be 20 points, got my starters out a couple of minutes into the third quarter and we got to watch some of the younger kids play. I think what some of the teams in this conference are doing to some of the teams in this conference has been disgusting. I went up and witnessed a team pressing another team up 55 points. I watched three starters come out, being up 62 points and start a fourth quarter up 62. Completely disgusted by it. I would never do that. I’m proud that we can win with class and not humiliate an opponent, especially an opponent with a coach (Richmond’s Phil Houdlette) like him — any coach.

“I think demoralizing and destroying a team by 70 points is disgusting and doesn’t do the game of basketball any good, whatsoever.”

Bessey said that there is etiquette when it comes to the younger players coming through the ranks.

“When our young kids come in at the end of the game, we don’t press and we don’t slack, but we play defense,” Bessey said. “And if we get a rebound and cause a turnover, we are going to run.”

Spruce’s press and its furious fast break ran the floor from the get-go. The Phoenix has the speed and depth that will undoubtedly frustrate a handful of teams in the Mountain Valley Conference.

“When you get a rebound or a turnover, the first 20 seconds are yours,” Bessey said. “Go have fun. Go play. After that, we are going to run something. They have the freedom to go run and go play.

“We are solid. They are really fun to coach. The schedule definitely toughens up at the beginning of the year.”

Senior guard Kayle Stewart used The Nest as an outdoor track as he sprinted up and down the court. He turned in the game-high 16 points and was followed by teammates Cameron Cain’s 12 and Andrew Shaw’s 11, including a pair of 3-pointers.

In the second quarter, Spruce exploded for 22 points while holding Richmond to two.

Richmond junior forward Calob Densmore threw in the team-high seven points.

“We graduated seven. We have one freshman,” Houdlette said. “But it’s really inexperience that’s all. Obviously, playing against somebody like Spruce … they are quick, they are fast when they get in the passing lanes. I mean the speed that Spruce has and the way they share the basketball, they are a well-oiled machine. They play very well.

“We don’t have a lot of experience at guard. We had two kids we lost year handle the ball 100 percent of the time … it’s growing pains. It is on-the-job training. It is what it is and hopefully we learn something from it.”

Spruce Mountain senior forward Andrew Shaw (20) blocks Richmond’s Danny Stewart’s (32) shot in an MVC basketball game at The Nest in Jay on Friday night. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)

Spruce Mountain senior guard Kayle Stewart bolts down the court with the basketball in Jay on Friday night. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)

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