Warrior girls return from break in dominant fashion, winning all three games

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Aly Feickert searches for an open Warrior teammate. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Lexi Loan works around a defender in last week’s action. The Warriors won all three games, improving their record to 10-2.

Delaney Scherf continues to be one of Central's leading scorers. Against Postville, she and teammate Haley Frienden combined for 36 of the team's 59 points.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Central girls basketball team returned from winter break on a statement-making mission, getting off to faster starts, dominating defensively and bench players making a valuable impact on the scoreboard. The refreshed Warriors won all three games this past week, never trailing at the end of any period. 


The Warriors took on Central City in the first game, taking a 17-8 lead after the first period, showing renewed emphasis on starting faster and not falling behind. 


“We definitely worked on getting off to better starts with our drills and scrimmage over break. We took early leads against all three teams this week…our defense was smothering passing lanes and getting disruptive with deflections. We continue to focus on consistency as we sometimes don’t get movement of the basketball, whether it is dribble penetration or ball rotations,” said coach Mark Wiley. 


The Warriors took the fast start and turned it into a 60-45 victory behind an offense that shot 44.1 percent from the floor. 


They were led by Delaney Scherf, who scored 16 points, going 8-16 from the field. She also added seven rebounds, six assists and one steal to the stat line. Teammate Haley Frieden scored 10 points, going 4-10 from the floor with four rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks. Ashlyn Scherf and Carly Kluesner both scored nine points, while Gracie Cummer, Grace Kuehl and Aly Feickert combined for 14 points off the bench. 


Defensively, the Warriors gave up 20 points to Central City star Bailee Weber, but stifled the rest of the Wildcat lineup, holding them to 7-31 from the floor. The Warrior defense also forced 12 turnovers, 13 steals and two blocks.


While the scores were lower against the Midland Eagles, the result was still the same—a Warrior victory by the score of 41-34. During the game, the Warriors shot under 30 percent from the field, but found ways to get to the free throw line, where they converted on 13 of 20, displaying improvement on what has been one of the few deficiencies plaguing the team. The free throws were “a major contribution to our win,” Wiley claimed.


“It was good to see the team make this adjustment and draw contact as much as they could,” he added.


The Warriors held the Eagles to 11 points over the first two periods, but allowed a brief comeback in the third period, giving up 15 points to the Eagles and allowing them to close the gap to six points. 


“We went into half with an 11-point lead. We extended the lead to 15 early in the third and Midland made a good push in the quarter as we had foul trouble with a couple players. Bench players stepped up and played valuable minutes for us, which didn’t happen a season ago. It was valuable for these players as they faced Midland’s full court defense,” Wiley explained. 


The Warriors held firm in the fourth period, closing out the victory, but like the coach suggested, it was a defensive battle. On the night, the Warriors shot just 27.9 percent, with only Frieden cracking double digits with 12 points. Delaney Scherf added eight, while Hannah Asche put up nine points. 


It was on defense where the Warriors performed, forcing 23 turnovers and getting 10 steals and three blocks. Delaney Scherf led the team with four steals, followed by Frieden and Kuehl with two. Frieden also had two blocks. 


In the final game of the week, the Warriors simply overpowered Postville, limiting the Pirates to fewer than 10 points in each period and even a scoreless fourth period, en route to a 59-19 victory. 


The offense continued to be led by the one-two punch of Delaney Scherf and Frieden, who combined for 36 points on nine for 21 shooting from the floor. The duo also combined to go 15-15 from the free throw line, and had 10 rebounds, five assists, eight steals and two blocks. 


It was also an impressive night off the bench, as Cummer, Kuehl and Feickert combined to score 20 of the team’s total points. The offense continued to show improvement from the free throw line, shooting 75.9 percent and making 22 of 29. 


“It was a good win, especially taking control early in the second quarter and extending the lead in the third quarter. It’s important to realize this was a good step in the right direction as we get into some very busy weeks in the near future with little time to practice between game,” Wiley said. “The game was also a magnification of our depth as we had 20 bench points. This will be a key factor to our success when we have four games in a row without practice.” 


Even with the successful week, Wiley pointed out things the team will continue to work on, such as free throw consistency. Wiley knows it “could loom large” as the games become more important. 


“Shooting is another area we continue to improve, but know that we will need to work with as well. We have more players contributing to the scoring column, which makes us tougher to guard,” he said. “Defensively, we will really work on our ability to rebound out of our different defenses. We have really hung our hat on man to man defense, but need to have more in our arsenal to change the tempo of the game when needed.”


The Warriors, sitting at 10-2 and second in the conference, will continue to work on these improvements with a two-game slate this week. First, they welcome West Central (5-6) on Jan. 11, then go on the road to Kee (5-6) on Jan. 14.

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