Central girls win big at Clayton Ridge, but fall to TigerHawks

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Fern Diersen looks for an open teammate. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Grace Kuehl avoids a Clayton Ridge defender in last week’s Central win.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

It was an up and down week for the Central girls basketball team, as they easily defeated the Clayton Ridge Eagles 57-36 before losing their second game of the year—a disappointing 55-31 defeat to North Fayette Valley. 

Against the Eagles, Central’s defense was strong, holding Clayton Ridge to nine points or less in the first three periods and forcing 20 turnovers. 

Delaney Scherf led the team in the scoring column with 24 points, and Haley Frieden added 15 points on the night. Ashlyn Scherf had seven points off the bench and Hannah Asche was good for three. Fern Diersen, Carly Kluesner and Abby Cummer each had two points. 

Asche led the team with six rebounds. Maci Kluesner and Cummer each pulled down four. 

“We did not rebound particularly well in the fourth quarter. Clayton Ridge had a lot of second chance opportunities, and they ended up out-scoring us in the fourth because of it,” head coach Mark Wiley said. 

Frieden and Cummer led the team with three steals each, and Delaney Scherf and Ashlyn Scherf each had two steals. Asche, Grace Kuehl, Carly Kluesner and Maci Kluesner had one steal apiece. 

Asche, Delaney Scherf and Cummer each dished out two assists in the game. Kaitlyn Wiley, Frieden, Carly Kluesner and Lexi Loan all had one assist. 

“I thought the distribution of the basketball was pretty good in the first three quarters. We were careless in the fourth quarter, which limited our ability to score that quarter,” Wiley commented.  

While the Eagles out-scored the Warriors in the fourth period, the game was essentially never in doubt. 

“It was a productive game. We were efficient on the offensive end, especially the first three quarters,” Wiley said. 

It was a different story against the TigerHawks, as Central’s potent offense was held to 31 points, failing to score more than 10 points in any period. The TigerHawks won the game 55-31, behind  dominant first and fourth periods, where they out-scored the Warriors by a combined 18 points. 

The Warriors were down early, 16-0, to start the game. They battled back to a score of 20-14 during the second period, but never really mounted a serious attack on the lead after that. 

“North Fayette Valley came out and was aggressive from the tip. We didn’t match that aggressive play, rushed shots in the offensive end and unfortunately turned the ball over 22 times. We didn’t close the first half well and, likewise, that led into a 16-point lead by the end of the third. We struggled to distribute the ball within the offense. Likewise, North did move the basketball well and we did not get many steals. We had a season low three assists,” Wiley remarked. 

The Warriors saw another press defense, similar to what they saw against the Eagles, but the TigerHawks executed better and created turnovers, which forced the Warrior offense into rushing passes and shots. Central attempted to stall the TigerHawks with a switch from zone to man-to-man defense because zone was ineffective at closing the TigerHawk passing lanes, but it did little to stop the offensive onslaught.

Central was led in scoring by Frieden with 13 points. She was a perfect nine for nine from the free throw line. Delaney Scherf had seven points and Loan scored four. Diersen and Asche each had three points. 

Cummer led the team with seven rebounds. Carly Kluesner had five rebounds and Delaney Scherf had four. 

“Giving up 11 offensive rebounds to North led to eight second chance points. Not a huge number, but six of those eight were in the first half…We have to lace them back up and get back on the court Monday night. For a young team, it might be the best recipe. We have to do a better job taking care of the basketball and play within ourselves,” Wiley said.  

The team looks to rebound over a three-game stretch this week, where they’ll face Central City on Dec. 14, followed by two home games against Turkey Valley and South Winneshiek on Dec. 15 and 18, respectively.

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