WRIGHTSTOWN (WLUK) -- The lead in North Eastern Conference was on the line Friday night when second-place Marinette visited first-place Wrightstown and the Tigers, led by super sophomore Mayson Hazaert left no doubt.
Hazaert exploded for 22 of his 34 points in the first half as the Tigers opened a 16-point halftime lead and beat the Marines, 85-73, to increase their conference lead to two games with three to play.
"Fast start was important," Hazaert said. "This team is the other best team in the NEC. We just made sure to get back on 'D,' get our points early, shut them down and that's what we did."
"We came out of the shoots making quite a few shots," Wrightstown coach Cory Haese said. "I know I didn't have to do any motivation. These guys were ready to roll."
Hazaert took control early by hitting three-pointers and driving to the basket. He led Wrightstown, ranked No. 5 in the FOX 11 Top 11, to a 42-26 halftime lead.
"I have to thank my teammates," Hazaert said. "I couldn't do it all myself. I was open, they found me and I was just able to hit a bunch of three-pointers early to get our team going and we just rolled from there."
"Mayson can score and when he's hitting threes he;s really tough to guard," Haese said. "We got a couple other shooters, so they had to get out on the perimeter and defend and Mayson has a very quick first step and can finish at the rim."
No. 7 Marinette, which beat Wrightstown earlier in the season, wasn't going down without a fight as the Marines closed the gap to six points. Nonetheless, Wrightstown always had an answer and is now in firm control of the NEC.
"The other team is going to make a run," Hazaert said. "Are you going to be able to hold it, stop them or are you going to let them keep going? We were able to stop them and that's who we got the 'W.'"
Despite Wrightstown's lead it isn't going to let up. Nothing is guaranteed until the conference is locked up.
"Our motto today was, 'Get it done,'" Hazaert said. "That's what we're going to have to do the rest of the three games."
"Anybody in our league can beat anybody on any given night," Haese said. "You have to come out and play."
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay