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Panther boys come alive in second half

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 12:46 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 1:11 a.m. CDT
(Denison Bulletin Review photo by TODD DANNER)
Creston's Zach Powers prepares to receive a pass from a teammate during Friday's 61-44 Panther victory at Denison-Schleswig. Powers is one of the bench players who head coach Billy Hiatt said will be key during an upcoming stretch of four games in five days for the Panthers.

DENISON — Maybe it was the five day layoff. Maybe it was the two-hour bus drive.

Whatever the cause, the Creston boys basketball team got out to a slow start here Friday against Denison-Schleswig, but the Panthers eventually got things figured out in a 61-44 win over the Monarchs.

“We hadn’t played in five days, and a two-hour bus ride and playing early like that — there weren’t a lot of people there early,” head coach Billy Hiatt said. “But, we found a way, and that’s what we need to do.”

The Panthers improved to 13-2 overall and 8-1 in the Hawkeye 10 Conference, just a half-game behind first-place Atlantic which sits at 16-1 and 9-1.

Denison-Schleswig started the game out in a zone and used a deliberate slow-paced offense, which took Creston out of its rhythm early.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well early and we were settling for outside shots,” Hiatt said. “They sat back in a zone and got us standing around a bit, got us out of our rhythm. Defensively, we weren’t getting pressure either.”

The Monarchs took a 26-23 lead into halftime.

But, the Panthers came out in the second half and turned things around, attacking more on the offensive end and creating turnovers on defense.

Creston broke the game open thanks to a 21-3 third quarter advantage.

“We just kind of talked about how we need to get some emotions going, quit playing flat, attack the glass,” Hiatt said. “Our shots started falling and we turned up the defensive pressure a bit. We were getting good shots from the elbow the first half, they just weren’t going down. We hit those shots in the second half, and we started pulling away with it.”

Luke Neitzel led the Panthers with 15 points, while Briar Evans scored 13 with three rebounds and Colby Taylor added 12 with four rebounds.

The Panthers were active on the offensive glass, finishing with eight offensive rebounds, including all four of Taylor’s rebounds coming on the offensive end.

Trey Thomsen recorded a team-high six boards off the bench.

Hiatt also said he was impressed with the way his team defended Derek Hall, who entered the game as the leading scorer per game in the Hawkeye 10 Conference.

“We kind of tightened up a little bit and got some rotations come across,” Hiatt said. “I think we got one or two charges called our way. We started playing more Creston defense. We did a good job defensively on the Hall kid.”

Hall made six free throws, but made only two field goal attempts.

The Panthers have four days off before returning to action Friday against Red Oak in the “Color Blast” game. Friday will also be senior night for the boys team.

Creston then hosts Lewis Central on Saturday.

DENISON-SCHLESWIG (44) — Derek Hall 2 6-6 12, Zac Johnson 4 0-2 8, Parker Eller 2-2 5, TJ Pauley 2 1-2 5, Luke Hall 2 0-1 4, Nate Pardun 1 1-2 4, Spencer Pauley 1 1-1 3, Zach Reis 1 0-0 3. Totals — 14 11-16 44. 3-point goals — 5 (D. Hall 2). FG shooting — 14-41 (34.1 percent). Rebounds — 21 (Johnson 7).  Assists — 9 (Eller 4). Steals — 4. Team fouls — 15. Fouled out — None.

CRESTON (61) — Luke Neitzel 5 5-6 15, Briar Evans 6 0-0 13, Colby Taylor 5 0-0 12, Trey Thomsen 1 2-4 5, Kainen Somers 1 3-3 5, Jay Wolfe 0 4-4 4, Cole Crawford 1 0-0 3, Ryan Cook 1 0-2 2. Totals — 21 14-19 61. 3-point goals — 5 (Taylor 2, Thomsen 1, Crawford 1, Evans 1). FG shooting — 21-39 (53.8 percent). Rebounds — 25 (Thomsen 6, Taylor 4, Evans 3, Cook 3, Caleb Thompson 2, Zach Powers 2, Somers 2, Wolfe 2, Neitzel 1).  Assists — 7 (Thomsen 3). Steals — 5 (Evans 2). Blocked shots — 3 (Thomsen 1, Taylor 1, Alex Nielsen 1). Team fouls — 15. Fouled out  — None.

D-S — 12 26 29 44

Creston — 9 23 44 61

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