Another week of winning for Central girls basketball team

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Delaney Scherf was Central’s top scorer in all three wins last week. She netted 32 against Central City, 20 versus South Winn and 26 against Kee. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Lexi Loan eyes an open teammate in Central’s win over South Winneshiek last week.

Grace Kuehl takes the ball up the court against South Winn.

Hannah Asche works around a South Winneshiek defender in last week's Central win.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


It appears nothing can slow down the Central girls basketball team, which steamrolled the competition this past week, going 3-0 and outscoring opponents by an unbelievable 169-74. The Warriors held the opposition to fewer than 10 points in 10 of 14 total periods, en route to a perfect 12-0 record.


The week started slowly against the Central City Wildcats, who kept the score close after the first period due to what coach Mark Wiley said was an ability to mix up defenses and slow down the tempo of the Warrior offense. But it wasn’t long before the Warriors solved the puzzle and exploded for a 20-point second period, going up 36-19 at halftime. 


During halftime, Wiley made some adjustments on offense, and Central continued to pile on points, while the defense limited the Wildcats to just six points in the third period, giving the Warriors a 49-25 lead. At that point, Wiley decided to shut the machine down.  


“At the end of the third quarter, we had the game in hand, and having a second game the next day, it was good to get some rest for players,” Wiley said. 


The decision made the 58-43 victory seem closer than it really was, as the Wildcats put up 18 in the fourth period, but never actually threatened to take the win. 


The Warriors were led by scoring juggernaut Delaney Scherf, who collected 32 points and shot an incredible 73 percent from the floor, including going four for five on three pointers. Scherf added eight rebounds and three steals to the stat line as well. 


Teammate Ashlyn Scherf dropped in 12 points, along with five rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Haley Frieden added four points, five rebounds, two assists and one block. 


The Warriors shot 35 percent as a team, forced 17 turnovers and came away with nine steals.


“Delaney Scherf was locked in on both ends of the court in this game. She does a great job of being efficient on the offensive end. She had a career high 32 points in the victory,” Wiley said. “Likewise, we had just eight turnovers. This is the best assists to turnover ratio we have had in my 16 years as the head coach.” 


The following game against South Winneshiek was not just a victory, but a remarkable defensive performance and a record-setting win in the process. 


As Wiley explained, Central “set the tone on the defensive end,” which forced 22 turnovers, from which the offense scored 19 points. That meant almost half the Warriors’ 49 total points came by way of defensive turnovers, leading to a 49-9 victory. The nine points allowed is the lowest in school history, and the Warriors held South Winneshiek scoreless in the first period. 


While the defense is the standout in the game, adding 14 steals and six blocks, the offense also showed up with a season-high 17 assists. D. Scherf led the team with five assists, as well as scoring 20 points on 69 percent shooting. A. Scherf scored seven points, while Hannah Asche added seven. Frieden contributed six points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Gracie Cummer notched four points, three rebounds and one assist. 


“We set the tone defensively with our man-to-man pressure. The score at halftime had us in control, and watching the film, we should have had more points. We missed some easy field goals that we should not have. Nevertheless, if we lock down defensively, we are going to compete at a high level,” Wiley said.  


It was another slow start in the final win of the week, as the Kee Hawks applied early pressure to hold the Warriors to 10 points and just a three-point lead through the first period. Central put the pedal down in the second period, though, dropping in 23 points and holding the Hawks to seven. The Warriors later added 21 points in the third period, while keeping the Hawks to eight points for the entire second half, cruising to a 62-22 victory.


D. Scherf scored 26 points 52 percent shooting and filled out the rest of her stat line with four rebounds, three steals and two assists. 


A. Scherf netted 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Asche pitched in with six points, three rebounds and three assists. Cummer and Frieden combined for eight points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. The defense finished with 16 steals and two blocks. 


“We played another really good game on the road. Kee High played a 1-2-2 zone, and we took the first quarter to make some adjustments, but really handled things well in the second and third quarter,” Wiley explained. “Our assist to turnover ratio of almost two to one is awesome to see. We have done an awesome job of getting the basketball in the interior of the defense. Our defense has also been very good and we continue to control things with our ball pressure.” 


While D. Scherf is the scoring machine, the Warriors are deeper than one player and have shown versatility and adaptability, as well as maturation as a team throughout the season. 


“It has been different people contributing different games each night. It is good to see and we are sharing the basketball really well to maximize our shot opportunities. Defensively, we are doing things well and continuing to improve on rebounding on the defensive end,” Wiley added.  


The Warriors will head into their “quiet week,” as Wiley labeled it, before preparing for a battle of attrition with five games in a 10-day span. They traveled to West Central on Jan. 17, then will have a rescheduled game against Postville on Jan. 21.

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