Everybody got into the act as the Cloud County Thunderbirds opened their season by defeating the Doane College junior varsity 85-59 Friday night in Bryant Gymnasium.
All 13 players in uniform played for the T-Birds. Eleven of them played 10 minutes or more and 10 of them scored in the victory.
Edward Dyson, a 6-4 sophomore, led the way for Cloud County with 22 points and seven rebounds.
Sophomore Connor McDaniel scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the T-Birds, and freshman James Williams added 11 points.
Cloud County was missing sophomore Gerrae Williams, because of an ankle injury, but everybody else chipped in.
“We have so many new guys you have to try and find out what people can do in real game situations,” Cloud County coach Chad Eshbaugh said, “I think we have a deep bench.”
The T-Birds trailed just once in the game at 2-1.
Dyson scored nine of his points during a 20-5 spurt that put Cloud County up 26-7.
It was a 31-15 game when McDaniel knocked down two free throws and followed up a missed shot to give the T-Birds a 35-15 cushion.
McDaniel was 6 of 14 from the field and four of four from the free throw line.
Knocking down three three-point shots, Doane would put together a 13-4 run, and trailed just 39-28.
“It is going to be up and down. Doane did a good job of spreading us out. They attempted 30 threes. You hit two or three of those in a row and it is going to tighten up,” Eshbaugh said.
Cloud County, in the final 58 seconds of the first half, got four straight points by McDaniel and a layup by Emeka Okoronkwo to open up a 45-28 halftime advantage.
Doane knocked down four threes in the first 6:53 of the second half, and trailed just 53-42.
A follow by Okoronkwo, a basket by Alioune Mboup and a three by Clint Glaser put Cloud County up 60-42 with 11:37 to play.
Doane got a three by Trevor Cyboron and a basket by Brian Bayer to make it a 60-47 game.
The T-Birds then took control.
Mboup, a 6-8 sophomore post player, buried a three to start an 11-0 run by Cloud County that extended the lead to 73-47.
Will Dittmer hit two free throws for Doane, but the T-Birds scored the next eight points, four by Dyson, to take their biggest lead at 81-49.
Dyson was 9 of 14 from the floor and three of five from the line.
Mboup finished with nine points, nine rebounds and three assists.
Cloud County was 31 of 77 from the field for 40 percent and 19 of 30 from the line for 63 percent.
The T-Birds had a 66-35 rebounding advantage.
“I was pleased with how we rebounded the ball. We had a size advantage if it needed to be done. Overall, we played with pretty good defensive energy. We held them to a low percentage and turned them over,” Eshbaugh said, “We turned it over a little bit. We had 19 for the game, and that is a little high. I thought we got a little stagnant in our half court offense.”
Cyboron led Doane with 16 points.
Doane hit 17 of 64 field goal attempts for 27 percent and 16 of 21 free throws for 76 percent.
Cloud County will host Northeast (Neb.) Community College on Tuesday night.