Central girls basketball team back to its winning ways

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Haley Frieden dribbles around an Ed-Co defender in Central’s 58-52 victory last week.

Delaney Scherf shoots a free throw against Ed-Co. She had 14 points in the Central win.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

The Central girls basketball team returned to its winning ways after the holiday break, defeating Edgewood-Colesburg 58-52 and routing Postville 55-27 this past week. 

The team showed a little vacation rust in the first half against Ed-Co, trailing 28-21 before cutting into the lead coming out of halftime. The Warriors eventually took the lead in the fourth period and never let it go. 

Haley Frieden finished with a team-high 16 points on the night. Teammate—and Central’s overall leading scorer on the season—Delaney Scherf added 14 points, while Hannah Asche and Carly Kluesner each had eight points. Ashlyn Scherf contributed six points off the bench, and Abby Cummer, Fern Diersen and Grace Kuehl each had a field goal, in what was a total team effort. 

The victory wasn’t without its struggles, however. Known for shooting the three with great frequency, Central hit just four of 21 and finished with an overall shooting percentage of 45.8. If you remove the three-point shot, the Warriors shot 67 percent from two-point range, a significant increase. 

The team was able to overcome the poor three-point shooting by winning the rebounding battle, most notably, the offensive rebounding category, where the Warriors amassed 11, leading to 11 second chance points. Cummer led the team with eight rebounds, and Frieden and Carly Kluesner each had four. 

The team also shot well from the free throw line, making 10 of 13. 

Additionally, the Warriors distributed the ball effectively, finishing with 14 total assists, led by Delaney Scherf with seven and Frieden with four. 

A shift from zone to man-to-man defense in the second half contributed to the comeback and impressive defensive performance that saw Central force 25 turnovers, block six shots and finish with 13 steals. Asche, Frieden, Carly Kluesner and Delaney Scherf each had three steals and Frieden added three blocks to the stat line. 

It was a different story against Postville, which Central dominated from start to finish on both ends of the court. The Warriors started slow in the first period, before pulling away in the second. The defense never allowed Postville to make a run, holding the Pirates to less than nine points in each period, forcing 28 turnovers and blocking six shots. The Pirates were also held to a 32.4 field goal percentage. 

Delaney Scherf had another stellar defensive game with 10 steals, and Maci Kluesner created a spark off the bench with three steals. 

The offense also showed up, with Delaney Scherf leading the way with 21 points. Frieden added 11 points and Ashlyn Scherf had seven. Asche had six points, all in the second half, while Grace Kuehl had four. 

“As a team, we were more effective from three point range than two. As a team, we have to do a better job of finishing around the hoop, whether that is a contested layup or shots off of offensive rebounds,” head coach Mark Wiley said. 

In other categories, Grace Kuehl led the team with seven rebounds, Frieden had six and Ashlyn Scherf had five. Delaney Scherf also led the team with three assists. 

“We did a good job of limiting Postville to only four offensive rebounds and they scored only two second chance points. We grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and scored 11 points off of those opportunities. It was good to see the team pass the basketball better than we have in a game for quite some time,” Wiley said.  

The Warriors’ record now stands at 7-5 overall and they are 6-3 in the Upper Iowa Conference. Wiley remains confident, but knows things can always be better. 

“Good growth on the offensive end of the floor from the first half when we played against Ed-Co. Still, plenty to work on with our help defense, running sets correctly and finishing around the rim. All things we will continue to work on in practice, so we are playing our best basketball going into the postseason,” he said.

The Warriors look to continue their winning march to the postseason this week. First, they’ll be at West Central on Jan. 12, before back-to-back home games against Midland on Jan. 14 and Kee on Jan. 15.

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