POLO – Aquin didn't make all of its shots, but for a while it seemed that way.
The Bulldogs did make eight of their 11 3-pointers and rolled to a surprisingly easy 88-49 NUIC East win Monday night at Polo High School.
"After about the 4-minute mark of the first quarter, they decided they were going to work a little bit harder, and play with a little bit more intensity, and give a little bit more effort, and we just did not match it," Polo coach Matt Messer said.
Overall, Aquin shot 58 percent (35-for-60), while the Marcos shot just 36 percent (16-for-45).
The Marcos, who are without starter Zach Quaco, who broke his right foot in late December, thumped Aquin 77-59 in the third-place game at the Forreston tournament on Dec. 20.
The Bulldogs bounced back to take the teams' first conference clash in a classic 88-82 double-overtime matchup at Aquin on Jan. 11.
Monday, it was virtually all Bulldogs in a battle of teams who are both receiving state Class 1A poll votes.
Polo (19-4, 6-3) started fine, jumping in front 13-8 after an inside bucket by AJ Dollmeyer and bucket off a long rebound by Brian Cavanaugh. Dollmeyer scored a team-high 18 points, and Cavanaugh 10.
Moments later, another Dollmeyer bucket made it 15-10 with 2:07 left in the opening quarter.
The rest of the game was Aquin's.
The Bulldogs (18-3, 8-0) outscored the Marcos 34-11 the rest of the first half and 44-23 in the second half.
If Polo wants to win the loaded Forreston Regional, it might meet Aquin again, as well as Eastland and Milledgville, not to mention the host Cardinals.
Despite Monday's outcome, the Marcos like their chances.
"I think we'll come back and work extra hard," Dollmeyer said. "I think we'll bounce back and prove this was a one-time thing. We beat them by 18, and we took them to double-overtime. We know we can beat them."
"I think this helps us. This will fuel us," Brian Cavanaugh said. "Before, I think we were coming into games expecting to win. At the beginning of the season, we were hungry. We have to get back to that. We have to prove ourselves again."
Brad Cavanugh added eight points for Polo.
Krisean Coffee, a transfer from Minnesota, led Aquin with 22 points. Aiden Chang added 15 points, Dean Sopcic 13, and Andrew Martin 12.
Star of the game: Krisean Coffee, Aquin, game-high 22 points
Key performers: AJ Dollmeyer, Polo, team-high 18 points; Aiden Chang, Aquin, 15 points
Up next: Polo at Forreston, 7 p.m. Thursday