Central boys lose to Ed-Co, but rally to victory against Postville

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Ashton Burroughs drives past an Ed-Co defender.

Dan McGreal goes up for a three in last week’s loss to the Vikings.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

The Central boys basketball team came back from the holiday break looking to turn around a three-game losing streak, but they were met by a defensive brick wall in Edgewood-Colesburg, who held them to just 19 points. The Warriors went on to lose 69-19, never scoring more than six points in any period. 

Statistically, the Warriors struggled in every category. They shot 17.1 percent from the field and only 12.5 percent on three-point shots. Overall, they only made seven of 41 shots, were out-rebounded 38-21 and turned the ball over 21 times. 

“Ed-Co is a really talented team that applies ball pressure all over the court…We let their defensive speed and intensity speed us up, which led to the high turnover number and the poor shot selection for most of the night,” head coach Brady Stramer said. 

Hazen Loan led the team with six points, followed by Dan McGreal with three, Evan Pensel and CJ Polkinghorn each with two. 

Loan, McGreal and Polkinghorn each had four rebounds, and bench star Ashton Burroughs came away with two rebounds. 

Coming out of the game, Stramer said the team “focused on zone offense and zone defense” because it was where they struggled against Ed-Co and to prepare for Postville, who was expected to come out in a zone defense. 

“We spent a good chunk of practice time trying to improve in those two areas, so we were prepared,” Stramer added.

The preparation paid off. The Warriors ended the losing streak with a 56-47 victory over the Pirates.

“We started the game off slow offensively, but the biggest issue was our inability to box out and to get stops on the defensive end early on, which led to us trailing after one quarter by a score of 11-18. We did a much better job defensively in the second quarter by holding them to nine, which allowed us to win that quarter,” Stramer said. “Our biggest adjustment at halftime was switching up our zone defense. I thought, overall, we did a good job communicating on the defensive end, but Postville continued to hit perimeter shots while we struggled to rebound the basketball, which kept the game close throughout.”

The Warriors found themselves down by one point with five minutes to go. However, from then on, Stramer said the team was able to finish the game on a 13-3 run and eventually pull away down the stretch. 

“I thought our offensive execution and patience in the half court to close the game was as good as it has been this season, which was great to see,” Stramer said. 

The Warriors shot much better against Postville: 48.7 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from the three-point line. 

McGreal led the way in scoring with 20 points, while Parker Vaughn added 16, Loan 10 and Pensel eight. 

Pensel led the team in assists with four, while teammates McGreal and Vaughn each had three. Rebounds were led by Loan, followed by Pensel with five and Elliot Kelly added four off the bench. 

One aspect of the game worth noting was the short bench employed by the coaching staff, which excluded Burroughs. 

Stramer discussed this at length, saying, “I thought our four starting guards were all doing a good job of taking care of the basketball and all were making shots that I didn’t want to break that rhythm up too much. Our offensive points increased each quarter, and we finished the game by scoring 16 in the fourth quarter and making the plays we needed to down the stretch, which shows that those guys were able to play a lot of minutes without getting too tired to finish the game strong.”

The 2-8 Warriors have a busy week ahead, with three games. It starts Jan. 11 at West Central, before two home games, one on Jan. 14 versus Midland and the other on Jan. 15 against Kee. 

Talking about the upcoming games, Stramer said “My expectation is that we continue to improve and build on the positive takeaways from last week, while improving the areas that we struggled in. We will look to do a better job of rebounding as a team and holding our opponents to one shot per possession. Offensively, we will expect to keep our turnover numbers under 12…as well as continue our high quality shot selection offensively, which helped lead to our best field goal percentage of the season.”

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