CLARINDA — The Creston boys basketball team started the 2013 portion of its schedule Friday on the right track, picking up a 65-37 win over Clarinda here, improving to 9-0 for the season.
Head coach Billy Hiatt wanted to avoid “slipping up” in the team’s first game back from break, and despite a slow start, his team avoided doing just that.
“My biggest fear since we had success during the first part of the season, and playing an opponent that hasn’t had a lot of success, sometimes you slip up,” Hiatt said. “We jumped on them the second half and started looking like ourselves again.”
Class 3A third-ranked Creston held a 28-18 advantage at halftime, but a different defensive look to open the second half caused problems for the Cardinals, as the Panthers used a 20-10 advantage in the third quarter to pull away.
“We kind of came out a little flat and missed some shots early on,” Hiatt said. “Halftime, we came out and gave them a different look. They turned the ball over a couple of times pretty quick and we jumped on them.”
Colby Taylor led the Panthers with 16 points and four rebounds, while Briar Evans shot 6-of-8 from the field to contribute 15 points.
Creston, now 9-0 for the season, did receive a scare in the second half when Luke Neitzel was issued a second technical foul.
After having already been given a technical for hanging on the rim in the first half, Neitzel was whistled for a technical in the second half after a slam dunk.
Hiatt met with the officials and eventually the second technical foul was waived off. Had it stood, Neitzel would have been ejected from the game and missed Tuesday’s matchup with Atlantic.
The Trojans come into Tuesday’s game in Creston with an 8-1 record overall. Tuesday’s game will not count in the Hawkeye 10 standings, but Hiatt said it will still be a huge game for his team against a quality opponent.
“They’re probably the best team in the Hawkeye 10 that we’ll face,” Hiatt said. “They’re big. They’ve got three guys that are really good. They can score, and they won it all last year. It’s going to be a challenge for us. We’re going to find out where we’re at in this game. Both teams will be fired up and ready to go. I’m hoping for a big crowd to help us out with a home court advantage.”
CRESTON (65) — Colby Taylor 7 0-0 16, Briar Evans 6 2-2 15, Luke Neitzel 1 3-4 5, Trey Thomsen 1 2-4 4, Kainen Somers 2 0-0 4, Caleb Thompson 1 0-2 3, Zach Powers 1 0-0 3, Brandon Phipps 1 0-0 3, Cole Crawford 1 0-0 3, Jay Wolfe 1 0-0 3, Cole Thompson 1 0-0 2, Alex Nielsen 1 0-0 2, Ryan Cook 1 0-0 2. Totals — 25 7-12 65. 3-point goals — 8 (Taylor 2). FG shooting — 25-48 (52 percent).