GATESVILLE — As far as season-openers go, the Gatesville Hornets were pleased with a 73-30 rout of visiting Hamilton on Monday night.
The Hornets were glad to just finally play a game.
“We’ve been going for almost a month now and we’ve had one scrimmage, so you kind of get tired going against yourself every day in practice,” said Gatesville head coach Thomas Winkler. “Getting to go against somebody else and getting to play somebody else is huge for us. There was a lot of anticipation built up for this one because we’d waited so long for a game.”
Tobias Moore scored 28 points, 23 in the first half, and the Hornets outscored Hamilton 20-3 in the final five minutes of the first quarter to roll in Winkler’s debut as the Gatesville head coach.
“I was really excited (to play),” Moore said. “I was mad that we didn’t get to play, but we also got to practice more, be together more and learned a lot.”
The Hornets (1-0), who were scheduled to open against McGregor last Thursday before that game was canceled, hadn’t played anyone but each other since their scrimmage Nov. 5. They wasted little time showing off what they’ve been working on.
Gatesville held Hamilton to just two field goals and six points in the final 13 minutes of the first half after falling behind 5-3 early.
Four different Gatesville players scored in a 14-0 run that gave the Hornets a 17-5 lead with 1:42 left in the first quarter. Gatesville barely let off the gas after that.
“It’s hard to say keep the momentum going after one game, you don’t really feel like you have momentum, but you have that confidence and you want to keep going,” Winkler said. “If you can keep that enthusiasm that I think this game generated for us, that’ll be big.”
Hamilton (0-1) opened the second quarter with eight turnovers in its first 10 possessions and five minutes of the period as Gatesville ballooned its lead to 33-10.
Hunter Gore hit two of the Hornets five 3s in the third quarter and finished with 13 points. Seth Martin also scored 13 for the Hornets, who got point production from all eight players suited up for the opener.
Hamilton was led by Riley Reich, who scored nine points, and Seth Montgomery and Colin Ferism, who each added six. The Bulldogs dressed just seven players and struggled against the Hornets’ aggressive man-to-man defense; Hamilton turned the ball over 26 times, including 15 in the first half.
“Defensively, they’re really starting to buy into the system and get it,” Winkler said. “And, you can see their influence is getting there, help is getting there, so they’re really starting to get it now, it’s fun.”
After Montgomery’s 3-pointer put the Bulldogs up 5-3 with 5:31 left in the first, the Bulldogs didn’t score again until a 3 by Reich with 1:26 left in the period. Hamilton took just two shots and turned the ball over nine times in the next six minutes spanning the first and second quarters and trailed 33-10 following a bucket by Jake Luker with 3:18 left in the first half.
The Hornets finished the half on an 8-1 run to take a 41-11 lead into halftime.
Hamilton outscored the Hornets’ reserves 10-9 in the fourth, getting eight straight points in a minute and a half midway through the period. Josh Gonzales scored his first points on a finger roll layup to snap the Bulldogs’ run.