A season-opening win against Glendale a week ago was everything short of readymade for the Waynesville boys basketball team.
And now, after a five-day holiday break, the Tigers will take to the road against a St. Clair team that has already played three games this season, including the Borgia Tournament.
Coach Chris Pilz said his team has had "just a couple of practices with everybody since the last game."
Several student-athletes left the Waynesville area to partake in their families' Thanksgiving festivities before returning to practice Sunday.
Because of its previous games, St. Clair could have a slight edge over Waynesville in tonight's game.
"[St. Clair] may be a little more fine-tuned than us coming in," Pilz said, "but it's still the time of year where the team that plays the toughest and the hardest usually comes out on top."
Waynesville did just that in its first game of the season. Powered by 6-foot-6-inch sophomore forward Juwan Morgan's 22 points and 11 rebounds, the Tigers were able to outwork Glendale with a physical offense.
Pilz expects more of the same from an inside-out offensive look, which features Morgan and his junior counterpart, the 6-foot-5-inch center Javante Armstrong, who hauled in eight rebounds and netted six points of his own in the 73-62 victory over Glendale.
"You're going to see the ball touch Morgan's [and Armstrong's] hands a lot, and we've got a couple other guys to play around the basket," Pilz said.
Morgan certainly has the height and ability to amass many points against any opponent, but the shooting guards for Waynesville will certainly play an equally large role in the offense.
Senior guards Donald Hargrow (3) and Ethan Howser (4) combined for seven made three pointers, leading Waynesville to 35 percent beyond the arc. Hargrow added 18 and Howser 14 to the team's total.
"We've got guys that can make shots out there," Pilz said. "We're still just learning when to shoot and when to pass."
While the Tigers tallied 73 points in their initial outing, there is still much improvement to be made.
Indeed, the inside-out game plan is executed best when a team's guards are making proper arrangements to shoot and pass. Pilz said his squad took plenty of shots that should have been passed against Glendale and will continue to practice decision-making as the season progresses.
But, because of Waynesville's ability to make the deep ball, the St. Clair defense will have to operate wider than normal, which could create a potential match-up issue in the paint.
Furthermore, Pilz expects his team's athleticism will help on defense and when rebounding on both sides of the ball.
Page 2 of 2 - As far as playing in the first away game, Pilz's team is used to it.
"[We] played a lot of games last year on the road," Pilz said. "We've traveled several different places in the summer and have played games in all hours of the day. We're not going to do anything different than what we do in practice."
And if that's Pilz's strategy, it certainly paid off to open the season.