SALADO — The ball struck the front of the rim, bounced, hit the glass, bounced off the back of the rim four times and then slowly rolled down and into the net.

Kase Spears just watched it, a bit surprised it went in. But then again it was that kind of night for the junior guard.

“It stayed up there a long time,” Spears said. “I guess all of them were just going in for some reason.”

Spears scored 24 points, including 13 during a second quarter surge for Salado, as the Eagles defeated visiting Florence in blowout fashion, 74-28.

“It starts defensively,” Salado coach Kenny Mann said. “This team is able to run or zone (defense) really well and if one is not working we are able to do the other well. ... Tonight we shot well early, too. We shot about as well as we have from the 3-point line and when they came out in man, we kind of

preferred that because all of my starting five can put the ball on the ground and get to the basket.”

With the win, 2A No. 15 Salado finished the first round of District 22-2A play with a perfect 7-0 record. However, The Eagles must travel to both Lexington and No. 12 Jarrell in the second round.

“(Jarrell is) good and it is going to be tough to beat them at their place,” Mann said. “We have to beat those two teams and then beat the other teams we are supposed to beat. If we play like we have been, I feel like we are going to be fine.”

Florence opened the game with a 3-pointer from Matthew Mellette and a 5-2 lead.

It lasted about two minutes. The Eagles ripped off a 14-0 run that was fueled by a 3-pointer by senior post Austin Adams and capped off with a three-point play by junior guard Kyle Heiner.

Adams finished with 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Spears and the Eagles’ pressure defense, which forced Florence into 21 turnovers, did the rest.

He hit a pair of his 3-pointers in the second quarter as the Eagles pushed their lead past 20 late in the second quarter. Spears finished 9-of-11 from the floor and hit all three of his free throws.

“I was just shooting when I was open and they happened to go in,” Spears said.

Dane Hankamer also scored in double figures for Salado (12) and Matthew Mellette and Christian Gomez led Florence (8-16, 3-4) with nine points each.

To Spears, he was just doing his role — stepping up when it was his game to do it.

“Anytime someone is not having a good game, another person is,” Spears said. “We are an arsenal ... Coach Mann comes up with a theme for each year and I think he picked it right on this year.

“We all have our weapons.”

Contact Nick Talbot at or (254) 501-7569

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