By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

DEERFIELD It's the middle of winter and on the downward side of the season and Syracuse boys' basketball coach Bill Peeper is trying to find a way to get his team's offensive engine running more quickly.

Tuesday, the engine ran well as the Bulldogs ran over Deerfield 63-25.

"We just seem to be lethargic, slow and need to play at a quicker pace right out of the gate," Peeper said of his team's 12-9 first quarter performance. "I thought our defense (27 Spartan turnovers) set the tone in the second half, we got our transition game going and thought we were headed in the right direction there in the final two quarters."

In fact, midway through the second quarter Deerfield was still on the Bulldogs' heels, trailing 19-16 when Julio Gonzalez scored a layup. Then the roof caved in on the Spartans.

Using more pressure, the Bulldogs rattled off 11 unasnswered points before intermission and went to the locker room with a 30-16 lead and never looked back.

"The halfcourt (press) just choked us," Deerfield coach Shane Burns said. "The kids played really well to start the game. I think their pressing finally got us tired but the kids never gave up."

Any hope of a Deerfield (6-12) rally at the start of the third quarter was dashed as the Bulldogs scored the first eight points before the Spartans finally got on the board at the 2:44 mark when Brennan Wood scored. It was another 6-2 spurt at the end of the period to close out the third with the Bulldogs comfortably in front, 44-20.

"We're just looking to find a flow to the game," Peeper said. "I thought we got contributions from a number of people, but we still can play better."

Peeper said senior Darren Simon was one of the few bright spots at the start of the game. Simon scored all eight of his points in the first half and also pulled down five rebounds.

"Darren's active and aggressive and gets the most out of his ability," Peeper said. "He doesn't get a lot of the stats that show up in the book, but he gets a lot done and that is a big key for us and certainly was tonight."

On a night when the Bulldogs shot just 43.7 percent (28-of-64), Braeden Simon and Tate Housholder shared scoring honors with 14 points apiece. Housholder had six rebounds to lead Syracuse. The Bulldogos turned it over just six times.

"We did a much better job of protecting the ball and that's going to be critical for us down the stretch," Peeper said.

Deerfield's David Rocha had eight points and Wood, a 6-foot-5 junior, grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Spartans are at Healy for a non-league game tonight, and Syracuse will next host Sublette on Friday in a Hi-Plains League contest.

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Syracuse 63, Deerfield 25

SYRACUSE (11-3) Howell 0-1 0-0 0, Parks 3-4 0-0 6, Brown 3-9 1-2 7, B. Simon 6-9 2-4 14, Housholder 6-11 2-3 14, Peterson 1-6 0-0 2, Sibley 0-2 0-0 0, D. Simon 4-9 0-1 8, Perez 1-2 0-0 0, Burkett 1-3 0-0 2, McAllister 0-1 2-4 2, Garcia 3-4 0-0 6. Totals 28-64 7-14 63.

DEERFIELD (6-12) C. Martinez 0-5 0-0 0, B. Martinez 1-5 0-0 2, J. Calderon 0-2 0-0 0, Zamarripa 0-1 0-0 0, Argueta 0-1 1-2 1, Gonzalez 2-5 0-0 5, Pepper 0-0 0-0 0, Dinkel 1-4 0-0 2, DeSantiago 0-1 0-0 0, A. Calderon 0-1 0-0 0, McMillan 0-0 0-0 0, Rocha 4-5 0-0 8, Wood, 3-6 1-1 7. Totals 11-36 2-3 25.

Syracuse 12 18 14 19 -- 63

Deerfield 9 7 4 5 -- 25

3-point goals Syracuse 0-3 (Parks 0-1, Brown0-1, Housholder 0-1), Deerfield 1-4 (C. Martinez 0-1, Gonzalez 1-3). Rebounds Syracuse 36 (Housholder 6), Deerfield 29 (Wood 10). Turnovers Syracuse 6, Deerfield 27. Fouls Syracuse 8, Deerfield 11. Fouled out None.