WARDSVILLE, Mo. - It was the kind of game that may not pay immediate dividends for the Blair Oaks boys basketball team. But it could be beneficial in the long term for the Falcons.
With a roster boasting eight seniors, playing time for others has been sparse this season for anyone other than junior Kory Franks, a starting guard.
So any time you can sneak in experience for the underclassmen it's a good thing, and the Falcons had plenty of opportunities for that Tuesday night.
That was available because the Falcons dismantled the Eldon Mustangs by a 89-45 margin, scoring 82 during the first three quarters.
Blair Oaks was so dominant the Falcons could have stopped scoring with 3:13 left in the first half and still had enough points to win.
"Graduating eight seniors this year, this gets some younger guys some experience, and there's no substitute for experience," Blair Oaks coach Ryan Fick said. "Not only does it get those guys experience, but they've earned the opportunity with the way they come to practice every day and make the varsity guys better while they're making themselves better players. It's important for our program."
Also, the Falcons got some rest for their starters in a week where they'll host Harrisburg today and play Friday at Versailles.
"In a three-game week, it's good to see 14 guys get in the game and contribute," Fick said. "It gets guys some rest, we can try to keep our legs fresh, especially for the stretch run."
A total of 12 Falcons scored, with three of them reaching double figures. In fact, those three - Seth Eskens, Franks and Chandler Haxton - all reached double digits in the first half. Eskens dropped in all 18 of his before intermission, while Franks had 12 of his 15 and Haxton tossed in 10 of his 14.
After Eldon took a 3-1 lead, Blair Oaks finally got in sync and rattled off eight straight points to take a lead it would never relinquish.
The Falcons led by as many as 20 points in the first quarter before taking a 27-9 edge into the second period.
Perhaps the biggest moment of an otherwise ho-hum first period came with 5:04 left when Eldon's Josh Jones tried to stop Haxton on his way to the basket. When Jones was whistled for a foul, he slammed the ball to the floor and was also called for a technical foul. It was one of two technical fouls for the Mustangs in the game, as the bench was also called for one with 3:47 left in the second quarter.
Jones headed to the bench after his technical, where he stayed for the rest of the first half. Without their main ballhandler, the Mustangs turned the ball over 14 times in the first quarter and 23 times in the first half.
"Getting their primary ballhandler in foul trouble obviously helped," Fick said.
The biggest lead for Blair Oaks in the first half was 37, coming with :32 left before the break when Ross Burlbaw dropped in a layup to make it 57-20. The score was 57-21 at halftime.
"I was happy with the way we came out and responded after our loss to Eugene (on Saturday)," Fick said. "Once we got the tempo in our favor and were able to create points off of turnovers, that's where we were able to separate ourselves."
The biggest lead of the game was 49, that coming on a four-point play by Jordan Null. He canned a 3-pointer with :26.5 left in the third quarter, got fouled, and went to the line and nailed the free throw.
The entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock thanks to the mercy rule.
Haydn Lock added nine points for the Falcons (17-4), while Ryan Wilbers contributed eight.
Jones paced Eldon with 13 points.
In the JV game, Blair Oaks pulled away for a 73-51 victory. Null had 18 to lead the Falcons (10-5), while Cody Alexander added 12 and Adam Schell had 10.
The Falcons took the freshman game by a 62-41 score. Ryan Paschal dropped in 22 points for Blair Oaks (8-10).