ERIE — In the Erie Red Devils’ first game back from winter break, Eric Dillinger scored 33 points and Erie notched a statement 75-62 win over the defending Tri-Valley League champion Caney Valley Bullpups.
Erie outscored Caney Valley 21-7 in the second quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the night as the Bullpups spent the second half trying to play catch-up.
“I was pleased with our effort tonight,” Erie head coach Nick Pfeifer said. “I didn’t like the way we necessarily finished the game tonight. But the second quarter was maybe our best quarter of the year. We guarded and did good things offensively. It’s nice to beat these guys. They do a great job and have a great team.”
Dillinger’s 33 points came almost exclusively in the paint as Erie dominated the interior.
“I don’t know if you can have a quiet 33,” Pfeifer said. “He just really made plays he’s capable of making. We did a good job getting the ball to him and he finished well in some different ways. He got some points off the offensive glass, got some in transition.”
Dillinger’s complement in the post, Dawson Lehman, added 15 points. Guard Mark Bogner also scored 15 points for the Red Devils.
“You always want to get the ball in the paint,” Pfeifer said. “I thought we had an advantage in there. Our guards did a good job of getting the ball to the bigs. The interior passing was strong.”
Caney Valley’s Daron Davis led the Bullpups with 27 points.
Tuesday night’s home win was a showcase of Erie’s versatility as nearly the entire lineup showed an ability to push the ball in transition, crash the glass and score from multiple levels.
“We’ve got skilled players that can do a number of different things,” Pfeifer said. “We want to attack and be aggressive. So I like the idea of guys doing everything they can within reason.”
Still undefeated at 6-0 on the season, Erie faces Eureka on the road on Friday. Tuesday’s game, along with Friday’s do not count towards Tri-Valley League play as the squads will see each other again later in the season.
“Eureka is a good team and we’ve had some good battles with them,” Pfeifer said. “They’ve got some good guard play. So it’ll be another good challenge that I’m looking forward to.”
Erie 75, Caney Valley 62
Erie: 18 21 15 21 — 75
Caney: 19 7 10 26 — 62
Erie: Garrett Ruark 2, Ethan Bartholomew 2, Mark Bogner 15, Tyler Duling 1, Tyler Pasquarelli 7, Eric Dillinger 33, Dawson Lehman 15
Caney Valley: D. Davis 27, K. Smith 3, J. Billingsley 14, A. Rogers 1, J. Scott 17