WARDSVILLE — It's already a difficult task facing the Blair Oaks Falcons, the top-ranked team in Class 3.
But the Eldon Mustangs had to do it Tuesday night without three starters and two bench players because of illness.
"I give them a lot of credit, they played extremely hard," Blair Oaks coach Ryan Fick said following an 80-38 win against the Mustangs. "They continued to battle."
Blair Oaks couldn't be stopped in the first few minutes of the game, working the ball inside to Luke Northweather and kicking it out to Quinn Kusgen for 3-pointers.
The Falcons were also tough on the defensive end, mixing in full-court pressure and contesting and blocking shots when the Mustangs got them off.
It was 16-3 before the midway point of the first quarter.
"What I was looking for, especially on the defensive end, is to try to still stay sound fundamentally," Fick said. "For the most part I thought we did a pretty good job."
Kusgen scored half of the points in the Falcons' early run, draining a pair of 3s and scoring a layup off a steal in the full court.
Kusgen made all six of his shots, including four 3s, on his way to 16 points.
"We figured that they'd come out in a zone," Fick said, "and we talked about where we wanted to get the ball, high post, short corner, and we did that."
Kusgen stole the ball away three times in the opening quarter, one resulting in a two-handed dunk for Eric Northweather, who blocked two shots in the early going.
Luke Northweather got six of his game-high 20 points during 16-3 run. He also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
"I thought it was a good effort given the situation and knowing that they were missing guys," Fick said. "Sometimes you can come out and not be focused, but I thought we were focused."
Eight of Eldon's 11 first-quarter points came from Logan Hall, who made a pair of 3s and added a layup for the final points of the quarter to make it 25-11.
Hall led Eldon (2-18, 0-4 Tri-County Conference) with 15 points and seven rebounds.
"He hit shots early on that were tough shots with a hand in his face," Fick said. "After he hit those shots, I thought we did a better job of sending a couple bodies at him."
Eldon scored the first points of the second quarter, but Blair Oaks (20-2, 5-0) rolled off the next 21 and led 48-16 at halftime.
The score reached 67-30 in the final minute of the third quarter after a Zach Henry 3-pointer.
Blair Oaks takes a 12-game winning streak into Friday night's home game against the Jefferson City Jays.
"I think Friday night will be will be a fun game," Fick said. " They've got some guys that have some speed and athleticism. Sterling DeSha can really shoot it."
Blair Oaks won Tuesday's freshman game 52-38 to improve to 12-8.
Dawson Skinner scored 17 points and Holden Brand added 12 for Blair Oaks.
Austin Rush led Eldon with 16 points and Kasen Bashore tallied 10 points.
There was no JV game Tuesday due to a lack of available players for Eldon.