Several quality basketball teams took to the floor Monday in Clearwater at the Cyclone Holiday Tournament.
Chambers/Wheeler Central surged past Elkhorn Valley, 56-41, in the girls title tilt.
“With their experience we really needed to settle down on offense,” commented CWC coach Laurel O’Malley. “Last time we played them, we were a little bit rushed and we knew defense was going to be the main thing tonight as well.”
The Lady Renegades got off to a hot start, taking a 19-10 lead after the first quarter, thanks to 11 points by Morgan Ramsey.
“We haven’t started well all year,” O’Malley remarked. “December is always a month where you try to work through those things. Getting into this part of the season, we need to start working and being able to maintain that at the beginning. We really started well scoring wise and defensively.”
A 10-6 run by the Lady Falcons to end the half cut the deficit 7.
EV continued to chip away at the lead and drew to within 3 points after an Olivia Nall free throw.
CWC (7-3) was able to pull away and ended the contest on a 22-10 run to hand the Big Green their first loss of the season.
“They (EV) were going to have their runs,” O’Malley said. “They’re a great team, well coached, have great players and they were going to score. If we could with stand that, and come out in the fourth quarter and still be strong with our defense, I thought we had a chance to win the game.”
EV (8-1) was led by Amber Miller’s 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Nall and Sierra Rystrom each scored 9 points for the Lady Falcons.
Taylor Peter led the Lady Renegades with 16 points. Ramsey accounted for 15 points and Michelle Koenig accumulated 11 points.
Clearwater/Orchard cruised to a 69-39 triumph over Chambers/Wheeler Central in the boys championship contest.
“It feels great,” spoke OC senior Ryan Wilhelm on keeping the tournament title with the host squad. “We’ve been really working hard in practice. We’ve had a winning mentality and that’s been helping us get these wins.”
It was all OC from the get go, as the Cyclones opened the game on a 19-4 run.
“We talk about starting off strong in practice and before games,” Wilhelm stated. “We need to keep going down hill all game and keep the momentum.”
The offense continued to hum in the second, as OC built its lead to 34-13 heading into the break. Six different Cyclones found the bottom of the net in the first half.
The defense was dominant all game, forcing 26 Renegades’ turnovers and scoring 32 points off those take aways.
“We got after it right away on the defensive end and that turned into some turnovers,” noted OC mentor Jim Schutt. “When you press it’s not always that you are getting steals every time, you’re forcing quick shots and getting them out of their rhythm. Our defense leads into our offense. We don’t want to rely on our half-court offense, you have to sneak in those easy baskets and we’re doing that right now.”
OC (6-2) also dominated the rebound battle, 36-18, and scored 15 second-chance points.
“We played aggressive and aggressive playing helped us get the rebounds,” Wilhelm mentioned. “Jake (Long) and Blake (Hoke) helped us on the boards and everyone else was crashing too.”
Four different players scored in double figures for the Cyclones, led by Wilhelm’s double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Hoke recorded 17 points, six boards, two assists and four steals,Chris Kester tallied 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and three take aways, Long accounted for 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals and Gage Clifton added 9 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“I like how we’re spreading the wealth and everyone is taking a part in the scoring,” Schutt said. “We’re not relying on one guy to do all of it. We got three, four or five guys who can really shoot it and light it up. That’s what we like.”
CWC (2-8) was led by Sam Jesse’s 16 points. Justice Metschke tallied 9 points and Jackson Waldo pitched in 7 points.
The Ewing girls opened the day with a 65-47 win over Clearwater/Orchard in the consolation game.
“It was good and I thought we were good at certain periods of the game,” commented Ewing coach Jackson Medina. “There were spurts that I thought were really good and that’s how it is in a holiday tournament because you haven’t been in a gym working on things. When we do things the right way, share the ball and play good defense, we’re good. When we don’t do those things, we’re pretty average.”
After Katie Stearns' layup knotted the game at 2, the Lady Tigers went on a 16-3 run to open up the contest.
“We have a lot of weapons and I thought it was important we got off to a fast start ,” Medina added. “We took control of the game, and when they would make their spurt, we would answer and build upon that lead.”
The Lady Cyclones battled back and cut the deficit to 5 thanks to a Julia Thiele 3-pointer, but Ewing (6-2) responded with an 11-3 run to end the half and put the contest out of reach.
“OC is a really improved team,” Medina continued. “Right now they’re in a unique situation with coach (Scott) Leisy not here, but I give those girls credit. They play hard. There were times where they could’ve cashed in, but they cut it back to 5 (points) at times. I give credit to OC for that.”
Three Lady Tigers scored in double figures, paced by Brenna Wagner’s 19 points. Jaidyn Schindler contributed 11 points, Sidney Stallbaum collected 10 points and Ashley Koenig added 9 points.
Stearns led OC (2-6) with 19 points. Thiele recorded 12 points and Maryssa Long pitched in 7 points.
The Elkhorn Valley boys team got back in the win column with a 73-48 victory over Ewing.
“It felt good to hit some shots and we played better in the second half,” noted EV junior Bryson Anderson. “We were a little rough in the first half, but all in all it was a decent effort.”
After falling behind 4-2, the Falcons went on a 16-3 run to claim an 18-7 advantage early in the second. Braedyn Ollendick had 8 points during the run.
Ewing responded with a 15-5 thanks to two triples by Xavier Hobbs.
An Anderson trifecta gave EV (5-4) a 4-point advantage heading into the break.
A big second-half run allowed the Falcons to pull away and break their three-game losing skid. EV outscored the Tigers, 47-26, in the second half.
“Coach (Derric Werner) told us at half to play with good energy and hustle,” Anderson recalled. “We wanted to win. We’ve been on a losing streak lately and we were hungry for the win.”
The Falcons turned 24 Ewing (0-8) turnovers into 24 points, including 17 points off turnovers in the fourth quarter.
“You have to get the easy points on the transition,” Anderson continued. “It’s good to get those easy points.”
Ollendick led all scorers with 19 points, to go along with his seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Brandon Evans collected 15 points and six take aways, Anderson tallied 13 points, three assists and three steals, Derek Hahne notched 11 points, five boards, three assists and four steals and Carter Rautenberg netted 9 points.
Joseph Wright recorded a double-double for the Tigers with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Connor Napier accumulated 8 points, five boards, three assists and two steals, Wyatt Wagner and Ryan Brummels each had 7 points, while Hobbs and Dalton Rotherham each scored 6 points.
CWC travels to Spalding Academy Friday at 6 p.m.
“Our schedule is tough and being able to get both of theses wins (over EV and Ewing) after coming off of 10 days without playing is huge,” O’Malley remarked. “The girls’ confidence is going to be great going into the January schedule, with some of the teams we have to play. These are two teams we face all the time in our conference. It’s a huge confidence builder.”
Ewing travels to Wausa to participate in the Wausa Post Holiday Tournament Friday.
“When you get into January, it’s a lot of games in a short period of time,” Medina spoke. “You find out if you got the muster to be one of the best teams or just an average team. Our girls really want to get to the top and we’re going to work really hard to get there.”
Elkhorn Valley heads to Atkinson to face West Holt Saturday at 3:30 OC hosts North Central and West Holt Thursday and Friday, respectively, at Orchard.
“A big thing was (this tournament) the ball went in the basket,” Schutt concluded. “That’s going to help us and we’re going to feel real comfortable offensively that we can score on anyone. We got a lot of weapons out there. We got guys inside and outside. We’re pretty well rounded.”