SUMNER — Peyton Schmitz always has the green light.
“Oh, yeah,” he joked. “But only on good shots.”
Schmitz hit his first three shots for Sumner-Fredericksburg during a Class 2A Substate 3 first-round contest Monday as the home team raced out to a nine-point lead and never looked back.
The Cougars upended Union, 72-28.
“Peyton Schmitz got us going right away and when this team starts hitting their shots, we can be difficult to handle,” head coach Mike Quigley said. “On to Denver.”
Schmitz began the game 3 for 3 with a pair of 3-pointers to stake Sumner-Fredericksburg to an 8-2 edge, and he scored on a layup and free throw for an 11-4 lead with 3 minutes, 33 seconds left in the opening frame.
Union (6-16) shifted its defense to defend the perimeter better and the Cougars (8-14) responded by going to 6-foot-7 center Klay Seehase and 6-foot-3 frontcourt-mate Kody VanEngelenburg.
The pair combined for the hosts’ next six points for an eight-point first-quarter lead (17-9), and the Cougars continued to rotate between inside-out and outside-in scoring every possession for the remainder of the contest.
“We had fun,” Seehase said. “It was all about the fun we had. We all wanted to do a bit of our own thing, all wanted to come out with a win. We all played hard.
“We executed what we wanted and that’s how we need to play.”
Union head coach Dan Hensing sighed when asked about the pick-your-poison night.
“Everything we tried, we were like a day late. Steps late, I guess,” he said. “Honestly, they’re well-coached and the kids play hard.
“If we’re going to get knocked out of this, that’s a nice team to get knocked out by just because I know they do it the right way and I wish them luck.”
The Knights closed within 12 (23-11) on a layup from Grant Beherens, but never came closer after that. A Behrens jumper later cut the deficit to 27-13 but Sumner-Fredericksburg ended the half on a 12-4 push, with Schmitz’s 3 providing an exclamation point shortly before intermission.
“Having ‘Dirt’ always on helps a lot,” Seehase said of Schmitz. “It stretches them out, they forget about me and they start guarding me and they forget about ‘Dirt.’”
Schmitz ended with 24 on five 3s and nearly a handful of layups.
VanEngelenburg dropped in 20 and Seehase added 17; VanEngelenburg’s 3 at the 3:04 mark of the third gave the Cougars a 46-19 advantage and was part of an eight-point run that saw the lead reach 30 (49-19).
Later, Seehase’s layup off a VanEngelenburg feed pushed the game to a running clock at 61-25. After Schmitz tossed in a layup with a little more than three minutes left in the contest (71-28), Quigley emptied his bench.
“Things went pretty well tonight,” Schmitz said. “Overall a pretty good game.”
Sumner-Fredericksburg’s Bennett Christensen was able to score for the first time this season, splitting a pair of free throws for a 72-28 final score.
Behrens netted 10 and Ty Lorenzen chipped in nine for the Knights, who fell to the Cougars for the second time this month.
SCORING BY QUARTER
UN 9 8 8 3 — 28
SF 17 22 20 13 — 72
POINTS — Peyton Schmitz 24, Kody VanEngelenburg 20, Klay Seehase 17, Brennan Duffy 5, Alec Aries 3, Trey Nederhoff 2, Bennett Christensen 1.
REBOUNDS — Seehase 15, VanEngelenburg 7, Alec Aries 4, Beau Nederhoff 4, Austin Langreck 3, Nederhoff 2, Schmitz 2, Duffy 2, Christensen 1, Kade Mitchell 1, Nathan Zupke 1.
UP NEXT: Sumner-Fredericksburg heads to Northern Iowa Cedar League conference rival Denver at 7 p.m. Thursday for a Substate 3 quarterfinal matchup. The Cyclones have won the past four meetings and nine of the past 15.