Opening South Central Association play by traveling to Cabool Jan. 14, the Thayer Bobcats needed just five plays to send a strong message to the rest of the SCA -- beware the Cats.
As a matter of fact, Thayer probably set the tone for the rest of the season with those five plays, the first five of their 60-45 rout of Cabool.
Four of Thayer's first five hoops of the contest came as direct results of steals, as the Bobcat defense played havoc with the Bulldogs' plans of even getting the ball past halfcourt to open the game.
Josh Wemlinger (11 points) opened the game for Thayer (9-0, 1-0) with a two-handed jam, and Aaron Henry (four points) sank a couple of jumpers as the Cats settled into an offensive groove that Cabool just could not find on the night.
Leading 10-2 early, Brett Ward got into the act by knocking down a pair of layups of his own. Ward paced Thayer with 20 points for the contest.
By the time Layne Hawkins (six points) drilled Thayer's first 3-ball late in the first, the Bobcats were in complete control, and they led 19-4 after one.
By holding the Bulldogs to just nine second-period points, Thayer moved in front 36-13 at intermission.
Cabool (3-9, 0-1) did fight back in the third period, their efforts at a comeback buoyed by five treys in the frame.
Ward had a productive third period in his own right, tossing in eight points to help Thayer build a 26-point lead midway into the frame.
As the Bulldogs heated up from beyond the arc, Thayer's margin shrank, but they still led 51-30 after the third period.
The Bulldogs did pull within 12 points, 53-41, with four minutes left in the game, but the Cats just had too much juice, and they cruised to a 15-point victory.
Andrew Eckman tallied nine points and 10 boards for Thayer, while John Tollenaar added six, and M.J. Clark four for the Bobcats.
The Bobcats opened their week with a 71-47 non-conference smashing of Eminence Jan. 11.
Wemlinger led the Thayer charge with 21, while Ward followed with 16. Hawkins added 15, and Eckman hit for eight. Henry had five, Tollenaar four, and Anthony Martin two for the Bobcats.
Breaking loose for 26 points Jan. 13, Lashanda Horton led the Lady Bobcats to a 65-29 thrashing of the Cabool Lady Bulldogs in SCA play.
Thayer smoked Cabool from the outset, building a 25-4 lead after one, and extending that advantage to 46-9 at the half.
Valerie Dixon tossed in 10 points for Thayer, while Krysta Adams added nine, Tiffany Poulette seven, and Brittany Allen six. Heather Coffel had four, and Sarah Dills three for Thayer.
The Lady Cats got a 17-point effort from Horton in a 58-45 win over the Mountain View/Birch Tree Liberty Lady Eagles Jan. 10.
Coffel followed with 14, and Tasha Wrenfrow added eight. Dixon tossed in four, with Adams, Allen, April Risner and Sabrina Harralston scoring two points each.