Central boys get first win of season
By Pat McTaggart
After two losses last week, the Central Warriors scored their first victory of the season, bringing their record to 1-4.
The week started out December 10 with a 68-49 loss to Postville. Central’s leading scorers were Nathan Fitzgerald, 12; Isaiah Hopp, 12; Peyton Alexie, 11; Blake Rodenberg, six; Neil Kelly six; and Ben Tschirgi; two. Alexie and Rodenberg combined to make five 3-point buckets in the game.
“A slow start doomed us,” Coach Trevor Arnold said. “We started out sluggish and that led to a 15-2 Postville advantage with five minutes gone in the first quarter. We were able to get things together and made it a 40-28 score at halftime.”
“In the first half we began to put pressure on the Postville defense and that led to a lot of fouls on the Pirates. We weren’t able to take more advantage of that at the line but it did chase some of the Postville starters from the game and enabled us to get in a rhythm. Defensively though, we struggled to contain Riley Brockway and keep his transition opportunities in check, which lead to the 40-28 halftime advantage. We did have balanced scoring in the first half with four players scoring six points or more.”
“In the second half we closed the gap to 10 points at 40-30 with six minutes left in the third quarter but Postville switched up defenses and we were unable to make the proper adjustments to have success offensively,” Coach Arnold added. “I take part of the blame for our struggles in the second half and we will change some things that will allow us to be more successful in the future.”
On December 13 the team met Starmont, losing by a score of 50-44. “This was a great game throughout in that it required both teams to execute on both ends of the floor to stay in the game,” Coach Arnold said. “The first quarter ended with Blake Rodenberg nailing a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 12. The middle two quarters both ended with Starmont holding a two-point lead. The final quarter proved to be a combination of miscues and great free throw shooting by the Stars that allowed them to pull away.”
The Stars shot 15 of 17 from the line on the night. “Going into the game we knew we needed to contain Butler, who was averaging 25 PPG coming into the game,” Coach Arnold commented. “We were able to hold him to his lowest scoring output of the year with 17. As a team we played solid defense. Hopp did a tremendous job with the responsibility of guarding Butler with some help from Neil Kelly. In our focus to contain Butler, another Starmont player was able to get points especially early. Franzen scored 15 of his game high 19 points in the first half. His play proved to be the difference.”
“As a team we made a lot of improvements,” Coach Arnold continued. “We took care of the ball well and only had 13 turnovers. We had three players in double figures and we got the ball inside which is our number one goal offensively. Hopp had a great game inside for us and his teammates consistently got him the ball when he was open. If we keep making improvements like we did tonight, we will be a solid team in the coming weeks for any of our opponents,”
The following day, Central took on North Linn, winning their first game this season by a score of 48-35.
“It was a great Saturday in Elkader for the first victory of the season,” Coach Arnold said. “As is usual for the Warriors, we started out slow and allowed the Lynx to get out to a 10-2 lead before we kicked it in gear and went in to the second quarter trailing 12-8. The rest of the game belonged to the Warriors. A 23-17 halftime lead and then extending that lead to 36-21 at the end of three. The Warriors made enough plays down the stretch to hold on for a 13-point victory.”
Hopp finished the game with 14 points. Fitzgerald scored 11 points and Tschirgi had 10. Alexie came up with eight, while Rodenberg had four and Kelly scored one.
“Other than the first four minutes we played very good basketball today,” Coach Arnold said. “Our defense did a great job helping one another to keep the ball on the perimeter and our increased ball pressure caused problems for a young North Linn team. Coach Hilmer is great coach and I am sure he will have his kids playing well by the end of the year but we took advantage of our ability to force ball handling mistakes that turned into some easy offensive opportunities for us. Contributions from all nine players that suited up were key to getting the victory. Once again, we had three players in double figures and three more getting in the score book helped. We also did a great job at the line again shooting 12 for 16 on the day.”