CARNEY - Carney-Nadeau put the Central U.P. and Skyline conferences on notice during their opener Monday night. The Woives aren't going anywhere, except maybe forward.
Using a relentless press defense and passing the ball around evenly, Carney mercied the Rapid River Rockets 77-35.
With the victory, Carney-Nadeau raised their home winning streak to 19 games dating back to Dec. 20, 2010.
Keith Shelton | Daily Press
Carney-Nadeau’s Jason DuPont hits an uncontested layup off the fast break Monday night against Rapid River. The Wolves won 77-35
In a pregame ceremony, the Wolves raised their state tournament banner, signifying their final-four appearance last season. They then went to work immediately.
C-N forced three Rockets turnovers in the first 90 seconds and led 7-0. After a couple buckets from Jake Pearson and Hayden Hardwick got the Rockets on the board, the Wolves answered back with a 14-1 run to end the first quarter with a commanding 21-5 lead.
"I thought we came out with great energy," said Wolves coach Jake Polfus. "A lot of fans were here tonight and the energy we brought started the game out great for us."
RAPID RIVER 5 13 14 3 - 35
CARNEY-NADEAU 21 27 19 10 - 77
Rapid River - Bero 2, Orth 2, Pajnich 4, Constantino 2, Pearson 9, Metter 9, Hardwick 6, Morgan 1; FT: 13-25; F: 15; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: None.
Carney-Nadeau - Blahnik 19, Johnson 10, Schetter 23, C. DuPont 2, Lampinen 15, Knaus 3, Sandahl 1, J. DuPont 4; FT: 13-20; F: 20; Fouled out: Knaus; 3-point field goals: Blanhik 3, Schetter 2, Lampinen 2, Knaus 1.
The Wolves defense simply flustered the Rockets into making a plethora of errors. Every single pass was contested as the Carney defenders had nearly perfect positioning to make the steal and transition down the court for easy buckets.
"Before the season started we worked on picking up the pace and picking up the pressure a little bit," said Polfus. "We were in close games last year and we always sat back. We wanted to get after people and make them come after us."
The speed of Carney was something Rapid River simply couldn't match.
"Everything we did, we panicked," lamented Rapid River coach Craig Carter. "I don't have a point guard though. I have a young team with inexperienced ballhandlers. Against the press, I say take your time. We didn't do that."
The Wolves, thriving off the press turned it up another notch in the second quarter as they began doing what they do best, raining triples.
In a 27 point quarter, C-N hit five from beyond the arc, spreading the ball around evenly to their playmakers.
Wade Schetter led the Wolves with a game-high 21 points and Dionte Blahnik came close to a triple-double, scoring a career-high 19 points with 13 rebounds and seven steals. Keenan Lampinen scored 15 points with 12 rebounds and Austin Johnson added 10 points.
C-N had 24 total steals and capitalized off of 32 Rapid River turnovers while taking good of the ball on their end with nine turnovers.
"I thought we did a great job of getting our hand on a lot of balls," said Polfus. "All those guys when they were running at people, they got their hands up. They did a great job of that."
The Rockets, tentative on offense for much of the first half, began to pick it up a bit after halftime, using their size advantage to draw fouls. The Wolves also got a little overaggressive on defense at times, getting tagged with fouls they didn't need to take, 20 in total. Robert Metter was the beneficiary of much of those fouls and scored nine points, as did Pearson, who also added three assists, three steals and a block.
"We drew a lot of fouls on their press," said Carter. "They got overly aggressive and we got one guy (Caine Knaus) to foul out, so that's not bad.
"But we had 32 turnovers and you're not going to win a game like that, especially against a team like this. I do like opening up here. When you get your butts kicked like we did, it kind of puts things into perspective."
Polfus said the team will work on limiting the fouls while keeping the pressure up.
"I told the kids before the game, it seems like that first game you're running 100 miles per hour and you can't really stop," he said. "I knew that would happen a little bit, so hopefully we'll control it from here and keep the pressure up, but lay back on the fouls."
On Thursday, Carney-Nadeau (1-0) travels to North Dickinson while Rapid River (0-1) heads to North Central.