Defense and timely shooting propel Warriors to 2-0 start

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Kaitlyn Wiley sends a pass to a teammate in the Nov. 23 game against the Pirates. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Grace Kuehl defends an inbounds pass in the Warriors’ 54-28 victory over Postville.

Haley Frieden heads up the court against Postville. She and teammate Delaney Scherf combined for 26 points and shot 9-20 from the floor.

Ashlyn Scherf eyes the ball in the Postville game. The defense had eight steals and caused an impressive 40 turnovers.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Central girls basketball team is off to another hot start this season, picking up a win against Postville and defeating Maquoketa Valley in a thriller Saturday morning. 


Central struggled early in the 54-28 victory against the Pirates, in what coach Mark Wiley called a “subpar performance,” taking a 25-18 lead into halftime. During the break, Wiley went to work implementing defensive adjustments. As the third period got underway, the Warriors “locked things down,” holding the Pirates scoreless for a 12-minute stretch during the third and fourth periods, and gave up only three second chance points while scoring 12 second chance points. 


Wiley attributed the success to the team’s ability to score 18 points off turnovers, while also limiting Postville to just one point off the Warriors’ 15 turnovers. 


The 15 turnovers led Wiley to admit the offense did not take care of the basketball as well as it could have, but they can result from an offense that is pushing the ball in transition, where the Warriors scored eight points, as well as 22 points in the paint. 


Scoring those points was the familiar duo of Haley Frieden and Delaney Scherf, who combined for 26 points and shot nine for 20 from the floor. Adding to the offensive mix was Ashlyn Scherf, who netted 12 points and made four of eight shots. Gracie Cummer scored six points, all from the free throw line, where she shot 50 percent, and Carly Kluesner dropped in five points. 


The Central offense shot 33.3 percent from the field and 28.6 percent on three point shots, making four of 14. 


One area where the Warriors struggled was from the free throw line, shooting 48.5 percent and making just 16 of 33 attempts. It’s a part of the game Wiley knows the team needs to improve, especially as the season progresses and games get closer.  


As for the lock down defense, the Warriors came away with 28 defensive rebounds, led by Frieden with seven, while Kluesner and Kaitlyn Wiley both had four. Delaney Scherf, Ashlyn Scherf and Grace Kuehl all had three. The defense also had eight steals and caused an impressive 40 turnovers. 


The following game, which took place at Kirkwood Community College against the Wildcats, was the first time Central has participated in the Rivalry Saturday event, which is in its 18th year. According to Wiley, the event holds eight games throughout the day and 12 of the 16 teams invited were ranked in the IGHSAU preseason basketball rankings. 


One of the four teams not ranked was Central, and the Warriors were there to take on the Wildcats, who are ranked 12th  in Class 1A. The game, was not just a “great opportunity,” as Wiley put it, but also a chance for the Warriors to gauge where they’re at early in the season against tough competition. 


The game was a close, tight knit affair, with both teams making late quarter runs to keep the score deadlocked at 23 heading into the half. During the first period, it was the Warriors who found themselves down 12-6 with a minute left in the quarter, but back-to-back threes tied it up. Then it was the Wildcats’ turn in second period, when they erased a six-point deficit in the final two minutes to tie it at 23. 


But once again, halftime adjustments changed the course of the next two periods, as the Warriors took a 29-27 lead with four minutes remaining in the third period. Kuehl attacked the rim, scoring six of her eight total points in the period, and the Warriors took a 33-28 lead into the fourth period. 


Things got dicey when Frieden picked up her fourth foul and headed to the bench, where she watched the Wildcats chip into the nine-point lead, getting to within four points of the Warriors before she returned to the court with a little over three minutes left and quickly hit a three pointer to stretch the lead back to seven. The Warriors were aided by an improved performance from the free throw line, as they hit eight of 12 in the fourth period, allowing them to keep a multiple possession lead. When the game ended, Central had secured the 49-43 victory and a major statement win for the program. 


The offense once again ran through Delaney Scherf, who scored a team-high 16 points, and Frieden, who scored 13. Combined, the duo went 8-19 from the floor, and 4-10 on three pointers. Kuehl added eight points, while Hannah Asche chipped in five points and Ashlyn Scherf scored three. 


Delaney Scherf also led the team with six assists, while Frieden and Cummer had four. 


As a team, the Warriors shot 39.5 percent from the field, 31.2 percent on three pointers and 47.6 percent from the free throw line, which is still low, but they made them when it mattered. 


Defensively, the Warriors came away with nine steals, led by Ashlyn and Delaney Scherf, who both had three. Central forced the Wildcats into 13 turnovers and limited the Wildcats to 36.7 percent shooting from the field and 22.2 percent on three point shots.  


The Warriors will look to keep the momentum going with a three-game slate next week, which begins Nov. 30 at West Central, followed by a home game on Dec. 3 versus Kee. The final game of the week is another measuring stick opponent, the 2-0 Springville Orioles, on Dec. 4. 

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