Ups and downs in CHS boys jamboree
Columbus High and Scotus Central Catholic begin the basketball season later this week. After a scrimmage Saturday at Columbus High School, one head coach walked away slightly more confident than the other.
Now it’s a matter of applying that confidence in actual competition, or, in the case of the other, finding a way to spark some energy.
The contest, run exactly like a regulation game with four quarters lasting eight minutes and three referees officiating, was the first opportunity for both to square off against someone other than teammates.
The season opens later this week for both. The Shamrocks host Hastings St. Cecilia on Thursday while the Discoverers open up the following night also at home with Beatrice.
Saturday it was CHS getting the better of SCC 55-37.
As expected of a dress rehearsal game of sorts, there were ups and downs, solid play, sloppy play and much to work on.
“It was good to play somebody else, finally. Our effort and energy were good. I thought we competed well,” Columbus coach Jimmy Motz said. “We saw some things in terms of rebounding and defense, little things, that were really good today, especially the young group.
“I was pretty pleased with our guys overall.”
Columbus featured 10 players with a bucket, including senior Kade Nelson leading the way with 14 points and Garrett Esch adding eight.
Senior Curtis Briggs and juniors Landon Thompson and Blake Edzards were held out as a precaution for prior injuries, but it mattered little. Columbus flowed effectively attacking and played good team defense for a group of mostly inexperienced players.
It was a back-and-forth contest early on with both sides trading hoops up to the 7-7 mark. A Columbus free throw started a run of seven of the next 10 points to close the quarter up 14-10.
The Discoverers allowed a Shamrock basket to open the second but didn’t again until the final minute before halftime.
The CHS advantage grew to 27-15 at the break.
“I learned that our effort is not what it needs to be,” Scotus coach Tyler Swanson said afterward. “Offensive rebounds tells the whole story at that. We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. Whether they scored or not, we gave up a lot of chances.
“I thought our second-half effort was better, but you could tell just by watching the game, they ran back faster than we did, they crashed the boards harder than we did, we didn’t do that kind of stuff. That’s where I was wondering if we were as far as we thought we were.”
Scotus scored the first point of the third on a free throw, but again, Columbus ran off eight straight and led by 19.
Bryce VunCannon began to heat up from outside, but by the end of the third, CHS still enjoyed a 42-27 cushion.
“We’re still a ways away,” Swanson said. “Playing someone different shows you if you’re practicing hard if you’re playing hard. Today, I saw that we’re not playing hard enough.”
VunCannon led his team with 15 while Grant Shanle scored 13.
Swanson expects Scotus to be more dangerous on offense this season, and sink more perimeter shots, but that didn’t show up Saturday.
Meanwhile, Columbus found ways to feed the ball inside, hit open shots when available on the outside and put the pressure on in transition.
The variety of scoring is something Motz expects more of as the year progresses.
“We don’t have that guy that’s just going to get you 20 every night. We’ve got to be scoring by committee,” he said. “I’m OK with winning that way.”
His focus from the sideline was the attention to detail on the defensive side of the court and on the glass where, as his coaching counterpart mentioned, the Discoverers dominated.
Motz was also encouraged with how freshmen Earnest Hausmann, Ean Luebbe and Blake Thompson found ways to make an impact without forcing themselves into the game.
“I think the one thing we can take away is, we’re maybe deeper than we thought we were,” he said. “There’s competition in practice. That’s made a difference. Guys are getting after each other, and it showed today. Really pleased.”
For Swanson, he saw good things as well, but was mostly concerned with the level of competition.
“Things always seem worse when you haven’t watched film yet,” he said. “They always say the biggest jump is from Game 1 to Game 2. This scrimmage is going to be helpful hopefully for Thursday.
“We need to have a better effort in practice this week. That’s what I challenged the guys with afterward in the locker room.”
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org