LAFAYETTE — Things were close early between the Erie Tigers and the Trinidad Miners in the first round of the Centaurus Warrior Classic, but it would not last for long.
The Tigers took a 41-24 lead in the first half after pulling away in the second quarter. The lead ballooned in the second half as Erie outscored Trinidad 34-6 in the final two quarters to win 75-30.
"I liked the effort they gave," head coach Scott Melin said. "We had the same effort today that we did versus Longmont, but we cleaned up some of the details. We were patient on offense and looking to attack rim in second half."
Both teams traded baskets to start the first quarter, resulting in four lead changes. Tristan Rademacher put the Tigers back in front with a 3-point shot and hit two free throws to extend the lead before the Tigers went up 17-9.
From the second quarter on, the game was dominated by the Tigers.
Defensive pressure was the focus for the Tigers. The full-court press defense started to force multiple turnovers that the team would capitalize on. Leading the Tigers in the second was Cole Rademacher as he got multiple steals on the guards for the Miners. When he got the ball, he sprinted down and converted numerous layups in transition. When the Trinidad defenders began to foul him, he converted at the free throw line, hitting all five attempts in the game.
The sophomore would score 13 of his 15 first-half points in the second quarter to give the Tigers a commanding lead.
Coming out in the second half, the Tigers remained focused on putting the pressure on with defense and then converting easy shots on the other end. Turnover after turnover, the lead grew steadily in the third quarter. Erie would win the quarter 30-4 to put the game well out of reach.
"(Defense) was something we focused on at halftime," Melin said. "We wanted to play to our standard of defense and play team defense. We talk about our five versus their five and finding success."
A running clock in the fourth quarter allowed Melin to empty his bench to finish the game.
Wednesday was the first win for the Tigers with a younger roster under Melin. He hopes the win will help his young team continue to grow.
"It's huge for us," Melin said. "It's huge to understand that this is a process to grow together as a team and to find out what everyone's role will be."
The Tigers will play in the semifinal round of the Centaururs Warrior Classic on Friday at 5 p.m. at Centaurus High School.
Erie 75, Trinidad 30
At Centaurus High School
Patrick Sandoval 6 0-1 14, Abe Serna 2 1-1 5, William Cervantes 2 0-0 4, Noah Robinson 1 2-2 4, Jacob Torres 1 0-0 2, Enrique Guzman 0 1-2 1.
Cole Rademacher 6 5-5 17, Kevin Loy 5 1-2 11, Tristan Rademacher 3 2-2 10, Ethyn Tyson 3 0-0 9, Gavin Mendoz 3 0-0 7, Kayan Hargrave 3 0-1 7, Kael Lucero 3 0-1 6, Dion Lucero 2 0-0 4, Seth Alexander 1 0-1 2.
Score by quarters:Trinidad 9 15 4 2 — 30
Erie 17 24 30 4 — 75
3-point field goals — Trinidad (2): Sandoval 2; Erie (5): T. Rademacher 2, Tyson, Hargrave, Mendoza.