Saxony Lutheran's basketball team has been battling injuries to its starting lineup over the last week of practice.
Playing in its season-opener Tuesday at Saxony Lutheran, the Crusaders -- who were without Casey Petzoldt, their top returning scorer -- looked plenty healthy in an 80-43 rout of visiting Oak Ridge.
"Since Thursday, four of our top six players had to see the doctor with an injury," Saxony Lutheran coach John Daniel said. "So we had no idea what to expect tonight."
The Crusaders jumped out to a 15-0 lead and held Oak Ridge (0-1) without a basket over the first five minutes of the opening quarter. Oak Ridge had trouble just getting the ball in, as Saxony created turnovers with a relentless press.
"We knew Oak Ridge had lost their two starting guards from last year," Daniel said. "Austin Morrison and Brian Ruesler did a good job handling the ball for them [last year]. Certainly, the first game we felt their guards would have some first-game jitters. We felt we needed to get out on them."
Oak Ridge guard Zach Buchheit kept the Blue Jays in the game by hitting three 3-pointers in the first quarter. The Blue Jays had four 3-pointers in the opening eight minutes and cut the lead to 19-12 by the end of the quarter.
Saxony Lutheran continued its pressure and opened the second quarter with a 7-0 run to open up a 26-12 lead. The lead would not drop below double digits the rest of the half, as Saxony Lutheran went into the break with a 38-22 lead.
Alex Jauch had 12 of his game-high 21 points in the opening half for the Crusaders, while senior point guard Trey Maevers added 10 points.
"Alex came on really strong last year," Daniel said. "We moved him into the starting lineup late in the year, and I think he had 25 in the Bell City game. We expect a lot out of him. He's really matured."
Oak Ridge managed to stick around in the third quarter, getting to as close as 43-31. A technical foul call sent the Blue Jays into a tailspin, though, as Saxony Lutheran outscored Oak Ridge 16-5 the rest of the quarter.
"At that point Austin [Hahs] got the technical that was a pivotal point," Oak Ridge coach John Martin said. "We closed it within 12 or 13; we had an opportunity. I thought we had the momentum shifting in our direction. Once the technical foul happened we went into the tank a little bit."
Maevers finished with 18 points for the Crusaders, including five 3-pointers.
"Trey Maevers had a great game tonight," Daniel said. "He's our coach on the floor, who usually doesn't score that much, but tonight he ran the team like a general and also chipped in with 18 points."
Lauren Lueders added 13 points for the Crusaders, including a 7-for-7 performance from the line. In all, Saxony had eight different players reach the scoring column.
"It's the first year we've had four classes," Daniel said. "Each year our bench has been more productive for us. I really think we're going to get a lot out of our bench this year."
Austin Hahs led the Blue Jays with 11 points. Johnny Price and Buchheit had nine points apiece.
Saxony Lutheran will be back in action Saturday at Christ Our Savior Lutheran. Oak Ridge will play Woodland on Tuesday at the Woodland Tournament.
SAXONY LUTHERAN 80, OAK RIDGE 43
OAK RIDGE (43) -- Austin Hahs 11, Zach Buchheit 9, Johnny Price 9, Jon McMillan 3, Josh Hormann 3, Walt Ruesler 3, Cody Cook 3, Ryan Pohlman 2. FG 17, FT 1-2, F 22 (3-pointers: Buchheit 3, Hahs 1, Price 1, Hormann 1, Ruesler 1, Cook 1. Fouled out: Pohlman, McMillan, Buchheit, Hahs)
SAXONY LUTHERAN (80) -- Alex Jauch 21, Trey Maevers 18, Lauren Lueders 13, Ben Courtois 6, Tim Lorenz 5, Max Wieser 4, Bret Steffens 7, Austin Kwikkel 6. FG 25, FT 23-34, F 12 (3-pointers: Maevers 5, Lueders 2. Fouled out: none)
JV -- Saxony Lutheran 64, Oak Ridge 21