Illinois Valley Central had a light but successful week with a 68-55 win over St. Bede on the road Friday.
"I told the guys that anytime you go to their gym and beat them then that is an accomplishment," coach Joe Mintus said. "That is a hard place to play in front of a rowdy crowd. They were 3-0 going into that game and had just won their Thanksgiving tournament.
"Going in there and beating them in a (North Central Illinois) Conference game was a good win."
The Ghost offense found a rhythm from the get-go and knocked down shot after shot over St. Bede defenders.
Caleb Magee found plenty of opportunities to make Bruin defenders shake their heads with shots over opponents.
IVC led 13-7 after the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, IVC did not let up.
Reilly Owens completely blew past Bruin defenders throughout the second quarter to keep St. Bede's hope of a comeback out of reach.
Owens led the team with 20 points for the game.
"We have been bringing Reilly off the bench," Mintus said. "I am a big believer in that if our bench is better than there's it gives us a good chance to win. Our bench outscored them 34-4 and Reily had a lot to do with that.
"When we play as many guys as we play we can play fast. Our pressure really wore them down. They were making mistakes they probably usually don't make."
IVC found the hoop enough times to lead, 28-19, at halftime.
Despite a stellar offensive showing through the first half, the Ghost offense ratcheted up the pressure and put up the best offensive quarter of the game with 22 points in the third quarter.
Smithson helped the team with smart passing decisions to continually befuddle the Bruin defenders by keeping his teammates open and also racking up points himself.
The Bruins' offense awoke in the final frame by knocking down shots in an attempt to manufacture a comeback but IVC did not let up and cruised to the win.
"This is sort of what I expected and I still think we have room to get better, but I've been happy with the progression that we have made every game," Mintus said. "We really focused on a few things this week in practice like not letting people get to the middle of the lane with our defense and we made those adjustments going from practice to game. As a coach, that's all I can ask for.
"When guys make those adjustments going from practice to games, that translates into wins. I think we still have a lot of room to improve but we are making nice progressions."
Page 2 of 2 - The team next plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hartsburg-Emden High School.
The Ghosts will then face Putnam County at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at home.
"We are going to their gym and it's a small school," Mintus said of Hartsburg-Emden. "I went there and scouted them and they are a good team.
"They will be excited about us coming in and playing in their place. Coming from a small school, I know what that's like. They will be excited and want to give us their best shot. It will definitely be a tough weekend."