Central boys fall to C-R

Photo by Bev Hamann Central’s Ben Tschirgi, right, plays tight defense in a game against the Clayton-Ridge Eagles.


By Pat McTaggart

Freelance Writer


Central began the new year in boys’ basketball with a 75-47 loss to the Clayton Ridge Eagles January 3. In first quarter action, Central had a slim 17-16 lead. At that point, the Eagle’s superior level of play took over. The remaining three quarters belonged to Clayton Ridge. Scoring 59 points in the final three frames allowed the Eagles to never lead by less than 13 points. The Eagles’ 13 point lead at halftime quickly ballooned to 24 points due to easy transition buckets that Clayton Ridge turned into fuel for their half-court defense.

Blake Rodenberg lead the team with 11 points on 5 for 11 shooting and playing as many minutes as he did, took care of the ball well and only committing one turnover. Ben Tschirgi also had a nice game with nine points on 5-for-9 shooting. Peyton Alexie knocked down two more 3-point buckets to score seven points. Shawn Fults had five, and Kelly and Hopp had four each. Fitzgerald and Grau added three apiece and Bries had one point.

“In the first quarter we were able to take care of the ball, get into our half-court sets and play the way we want to play and dictate to the defense what we wanted to do,” Coach Trevor Arnold said.  “Against their man defense and 1-2-2 zone defense we were able to get good looks and made seven of our 12 shots in that opening quarter. Turnovers the rest of the game killed our half-court offense and we were unable to find any flow to our game. The good part is we know where the problems are, we just need to fix them. They continued to play man and a 1-2-2 zone for the entire game we just kept making the same mistakes.”

“We played all 10 guys and we were not able to find a combination that allowed us to defend, take care of the ball and score,” Coach Arnold continued.  “That is our challenge for the remainder of the season, to find that combination of players that gives us the best chance to be successful consistently. As a team, we know 20-plus turnovers do not enhance our ability to compete against anyone, let alone good teams like Clayton Ridge that feed off of turnovers.”

“Getting Sam Hilgerson back from an injury for his first action of the season was one of the positives that came out of the game,” Coach Arnold added.  “He will provide us with some much needed leadership and consistency. He won’t be flashy but he listens to coaching and will continue to help us and play more minutes. Shawn Fults also came back for his first game action of the season and we got to see some of his potential on the court at 6’3” and a tremendous amount of athletic ability. He can be a major x-factor for us if he can grasp that potential. He has a skill set that we do not have otherwise.”

Coming into the game Central was shooting 70 percent from the line, but against Clayton Ridge the Warriors only managed to make seven out of 21 shots. “Accompany that with the 20 turnovers, we know where we hampered our ability to compete with a good team like Clayton Ridge who will find their way to the top of the UIC standings by the end of the season,” Coach Arnold said.  “We will get another shot at the Eagles on January 31st, so we can see where we have improved that second time around.”

Currently, the Central JV Boys have a record of 5-3. In December, they placed second in the Clayton Ridge Tournament by beating North Linn and losing to C-R in the championship game. Sophomores on this year’s team are Ben Backes, Spencer Bries, Jacob Jansen and the Freshman are Derek Ehrhardt, Nick Sylvester, Elijah Hopp, Drew Reinhardt and Justin DeShaw. Backes leads the team averaging 11 points per game followed by Jansen at eight, Ehrhardt, six, Bries, 5.5, Sylvester 3.5, and Hopp, DeShaw and Reinhardt all average around one point. The JV gets back on the court along with the varsity on Tuesday, January 7th at Lansing and again Friday, January 10th at home against North Fayette Valley.

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