BOYS BASKETBALL: Cissna Park locks down in win over Central
CLIFTON — Being the No. 1 team in the state means that every team is licking their chops and waiting to give you their best shot.
Cissna Park is coming to that realization and Friday was just the latest example for the top-ranked Timberwolves.
Central came out with the energy early, but couldn’t sustain momentum and the Timberwolves capitalized using ball movement and patience for the 49-29 victory on Friday.
“Credit to Central, they came out with a ton of energy and brought it,” Cissna Park coach Kevin Long said. “They’re a physical team with a lot of athleticism and they wanted to play a grind it out type of game. We relied on our defense which did a pretty good job, but we have to stop turning the ball over so much.”
Part of what makes Cissna Park as good as they are outside of its post game is their guard play.
Between Conner Lober, Keegan Boyle, Bailey Sluis and Brian Fehr, they all take care of the ball fairly well and limit turnovers. But the Timberwolves committed 16 of them, which didn’t sit too well with Long along with other missed opportunities.
“We left too many points on the floor from the free throw line and easy baskets,” Long said. “Our clock recognition at the end of a couple quarters wasn’t great either. We did a lot of things to shoot ourselves in the foot and we can’t do that as the No. 1 team in the state.”
Throughout the first quarter, they had trouble slowing Central’s Jacob Shoven, who scored all nine Comet points in the frame that also matched their output.
However, they made some changes and held him to just six points the rest of the night for a game-high 15 points.
“We made an adjustment and began to shadow him a little bit to make it harder for him to catch it,” Long said. “We forced him out of his range a little bit. For just being a sophomore, he’s a really good player.”
Leading 14-13 and with leading scorer Christian Stadeli on the bench in foul trouble, the Timberwolves relied on that stellar guard play to provide a spark.
With ball movement, Lober connected with Fehr for a 3-pointer followed by Sluis burying a 3-pointer from Lober.
“It all comes down to just playing my role and doing my job,” Sluis said. “My team does a great of finding me if I have the hot hand and it’s the same with me if someone else has it.”
Add a Julian Stadeli 3-point play and that capped a 9-0 run to end the half with Cissna Park ahead 23-13.
Once that lead reached double digits, it remained that way for the reminder of the night as the Timberwolves cruised to win No. 15 on the season.
“That stretch was the key to the game,” Long said. “ I thought we took their best punch in the first half and responded well. We talked at the half about extending that lead and taking their spirit. We didn’t quite get that done until later in the game, but I’m pleased with the way we played defensively although we still have a long way to go on offense.”
“We have to get mentally tougher, there’s no other way around it. I have to convince my guys that we defend well enough to where we can make mistakes on the offensive end and not punch the panic button. We were too tentative at times and we need to be better.”
Fehr finished with a team-high 13 points for four rebounds to lead Cissna Park.
Julian Stadeli added 10 points while Sluis and Christian Stadeli had nine points.
After Shoven for Central, Darryl Harris and Kyle Peters had four points each.
Cissna Park has a quick turnaround as it hosts St. Anne in a Class 1A non-conference action today. Central is back in action on Wednesday at Beecher.