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Panther defense swarms young Mustangs, 77-24

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 1:47 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 1:56 p.m. CDT
Shenandoah's Austin Fichter (21) tries to save the ball from a steal attempt by Creston's Luke Neitzel (30) during the first half here Monday. Neitzel had four of the team's 20 steals and a team-high six rebounds along with 10 points in the Panthers' 77-24 victory.

On the same day the Creston boys broke into the Associated Press ratings as the No. 10 team in Class 3A, the Panthers wasted no time in disposing of a youthful Shenandoah team here Monday night, 77-24.

The Mustangs, starting a freshman and two sophomores with a pair of seniors, were outmanned from the start against the all-senior Panther lineup.

The first period ended with a 14-3 spread as Trey Thomsen took a slick 2-on-1 pass from Kainen Somers on a fast break for a layup. That was the scenario time and again in the first half, as the Mustangs suffered 18 turnovers trying to advance the ball against an aggressive Panther defense.

At the 6:13 mark of the second quarter, it was 21-3 on a Colby Taylor basket off a Caleb Thompson assist. Thompson’s long 3-pointer at the buzzer made it a 38-7 game at halftime.

Creston’s relentless pressure on the passing lanes and height advantage spelled trouble for the 1-6 Mustangs, leading to well-executed fast breaks by the Panthers, who improved to 5-0 overall, and 3-0 in the Hawkeye 10 Conference.

“I was mainly looking at our defense tonight,” coach Billy Hiatt said. “I wanted to hold them down as well as we could defensively, and I thought we did a pretty good job with it. It was a team effort. I wanted us to play as a team and not get individualized, and that’s what we did.”

The Panthers opened the second half with a shooting clinic, making five 3-pointers in the third quarter including three of the team’s first four baskets by Cole Thompson, Trey Thomsen and Taylor that made it 49-9.

During that flurry, the mercy rule running clock was enacted with a 35-point spread, and Hiatt gradually started working his entire bench into the game. Bryce McIlravy, coming off ankle surgery near the end of the football season, drew a charge shortly after entering.

Sophomore Alex Nielsen ended a fourth-quarter runout off a steal with a one-handed slam dunk to perk up the home crowd.

Hiatt said he had to carefully administer his subbing, faced with a home encounter against Harlan here Friday night.

“That’s tough, because you don’t want to lose any kind of rhythm you have going,” Hiatt said. “I started getting guys out one by one around the six-minute mark of the third quarter. You don’t want to lose the flow of what we’re doing, going into the Harlan game.”

The disbursement of playing time is reflected in the balanced stat sheet. Trey Thomsen had 11 of his 14 points in the first two quarters. Luke Neitzel had an active game with 10 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists.

As a team, Creston had 20 steals and only eight turnovers. There were 15 assists among the 31 baskets. The Panthers shot 7-of-18 from behind the 3-point arc. Taylor had two in a 12-point night.

Shenandoah freshman Makonn Anderson, the team’s season scoring leader, matched his average with eight points.

Hiatt said the team is excited about Friday’s home game against the 3-0 Cyclones, tied for 20th in the same AP poll that lists Creston No. 10 this week. Harlan topped Carroll Kuemper Catholic Monday, 60-54.

“With the girls playing with us at home, we’re hoping for a good atmosphere,” Hiatt said.

SHENANDOAH (24) — Makonn Anderson 3 2-4 8, Payden Anderson 2 1-2 5, Josh Dudley 2 1-2 5, Austin Fichter 2 0-0 4, Michael Cisneros 1 0-0 2. Totals — 10 4-8 24. 3-point goals — None. Team fouls — 12. Fouled out — None.

CRESTON (77) — Trey Thomsen 6 1-2 14, Colby Taylor 5 0-0 12, Luke Neitzel 4 2-3 10, Briar Evans 4 0-0 8, Zach Powers 1 2-2 5, Brandon Phipps 2 0-1 5, Caleb Thompson 1 1-2 4, Alex Nielsen 2 0-0 4, Jay Wolfe 1 2-2 4, Ryan Cook 2 0-0 4, Cole Thompson 1 0-0 3, Cole Crawford 1 0-0 2, Kainen Somers 1 0-0 2. Totals — 31 8-12 77. 3-point goals — 7-18 (Taylor 2, Caleb Thompson 1, Thomsen 1, Powers 1, Phipps 1, Cole Thompson 1). Rebounds — Neitzel 6, Evans 5, Cook 4, Caleb Thompson 4, Nielsen 3, Thomsen 3.  Assists — Caleb Thompson 3, Neitzel 2, Somers 2, Cole Thompson 2. Steals — Neitzel 4, Cole Thompson 3, Wolfe 2, Evans 2, Taylor 2, Thomsen 2. Blocked shots — Nielsen 1, Wolfe 1. Turnovers — 8. Team fouls — 13. Fouled out  — None.

Shenandoah — 3 7 14 24

Creston — 14 38 64 77


Creston got out to a 21-6 lead in the first quarter in a 60-32 victory over the Shenandoah junior varsity Monday.

The Panthers made six 3-pointers, including three by Brandon Phipps in a nine-point effort and two by Cole Crawford. Alex Nielsen matched Phipps with nine points. Trey Benson contributed eight points and three rebounds. Evan Nielsen and Christian Groumoutis each grabbed five rebounds.

“We shot the ball lights out right off the bat,” Creston coach Kristopher “Kritter” Hayes said. “Everybody got a lot of playing time.”

Creston (60) — Brandon Phipps 9, Alex Nielsen 9, Trey Benson 8, Cole Thompson 6, Sam Hartsock 6, Cole Crawford 6, Christian Groumoutis 5, Evan Nielsen 5, Nick Noecker 3, McClain Haines 3. 3-point goals — Phipps 3, Groumoutis 1. Free throws — 6-8. Rebounds — Groumoutis 5, Evan Nielsen 5, Alex Nielsen 3, Benson 3. Steals — E. Nielsen 2, Groumoutis 1, Cole Thompson 1. Blocks — Jake Miller 1. Halftime score — Creston 34, Shenandoah 17.

Shenandoah (32) — Payden Anderson 7, Makonn Anderson 7, Austin Fichter 6, Jake Cerven 4, Chase Hiser 2, Joe Blake 2, Michael Cisneros 2, David Hu 2, Coleman Dailey 1. 3-point goals — 1. Free throws — 5-10.

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