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Panthers prevail in district preview

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 1:00 p.m. CDT

WINTERSET — On the day Class 3A district and substate assignments were released, the fifth-ranked Creston boys ended up taking on their district-opening opponent.

The Panthers, playing their third game in four days, defeated Winterset 67-52 on the Huskies’ court. The return meeting will be in Creston on Feb. 18 to open Class 3A District 15 play. The winner meets either ADM or second-ranked Atlantic on Feb. 21 in Greenfield (see related story).

“You get to see each other, and make some adjustments,” Creston coach Billy Hiatt said, after his team improved to 16-2. “They are a pretty physical team. They do some good things, they shoot some threes. They’ll present a challenge.”

The Huskies (9-8) made six 3-pointers, including four by Trae Gilliland in scoring a game-high 17 points. Hiatt said senior Cory Briney has also been dangerous from behind the arc, but made only one while scoring 13 points Monday night.

Creston jumped out to a 26-16 lead in the first quarter, but got outscored 13-6 in the second period to hold a 32-29 halftime lead. Creston then took control of the game with a 20-11 third quarter.

“We scored a lot of early layups against their man-to-man defense,” Hiatt said. “They started playing zone against us and we slowed down a little. We are tired. We’re playing four games in five days, so I went to the bench to find some energy. Tomorrow night will be the same thing.”

The Panthers conclude the rugged stretch of four games in five days in a conference game against Clarinda at Southwestern Community College tonight, after the 6 p.m. JV game.

To win the Hawkeye 10, Hiatt expects his team will have to beat Clarinda (7-12) and Atlantic (17-2) this week, and Harlan (11-5) on Feb. 12.

“We need to keep the kids focused on one game at a time and take care of business (tonight), because they know what’s coming up Friday,” Hiatt said.

Atlantic hosts the Panthers Friday after beating the Panthers 47-40 on Jan. 8. The Panthers followed with a 46-44 loss to Carroll Kuemper Catholic for their only two defeats of the season to date. Atlantic’s only loss was to Kuemper.

“We’d like to get them (Atlantic) once before possibly seeing them in the district final,” Hiatt said, “and we’d like to win out in the conference.”

Briar Evans was effective inside early and finished with a team-high 15 points Monday. Caleb Thompson, Trey Thomsen, Colby Taylor and Jay Wolfe all tallied nine points in the balanced effort.

“We had guys come off the bench and give us a lot of energy and gain some confidence,” Hiatt said. “We told them we needed everybody, and it’ll be the same thing tomorrow.”

Taylor led the team with six rebounds, and Neitzel again contributed in several areas with four rebounds, a team-high five assists and a blocked shot while scoring seven points.

WINTERSET (52) — Trae Gilliland 5 3-3 17, Cory Briney 5 2-4 13, Ryan Scheetz 4 2-3 10, Noah Kaldenberg 2 2-2 7, Luke Nolan 2 0-0 4, Trey Jackson 0 1-2 1. Totals — 18 10-14 52. 3-point goals — 6 (Gilliland 4, Briley 1, Kaldenberg 1). Team fouls — 18. Fouled out — Nolan.

CRESTON (67) — Briar Evans 7 1-3 15, Jay Wolfe 4 0-0 9, Colby Taylor 3 1-2 9, Trey Thomsen 3 2-2 9, Caleb Thompson 4 0-0 9, Jay Wolfe 4 0-0 9, Luke Neitzel 3 1-2 7, Alex Nielsen 0 3-4 3, Ryan Cook 1 0-0 2, Zach Powers 0 2-2 2. Totals — 25 12-17 67. 3-point goals — 5 (Taylor 2, Caleb Thompson 1, Thomsen 1, Wolfe 1). Rebounds — Taylor 6, Neitzel 4, Wolfe 4, Evans 4.  Assists — Neitzel 5. Steals — Evans 2, Cole Thompson 2. Blocked shots — Neitzel 1, Cook 1. Turnovers — 10. Team fouls — 14. Fouled out  — None.

Winterset — 16 29 40 52

Creston — 26 32 52 67


Creston’s JV slammed Winterset 42-8 in the second half to post a 67-28 victory over Winterset, after leading just 25-20 at halftime.

“We just brought intensity in the second half,” said Creston JV coach Kristopher “Kritter” Hayes. “We started out the game real flat, a little tired from playing our third game in four days. We applied some pressure defensively in the second half and got things flowing on the offensive end.”

Brandon Phipps led a balanced offense with 13 points for Creston (14-2). Jay Wolfe, Alex Nielsen and Cole Crawford each finished with eight points. Trey Benson had a team-high nine rebounds, including seven on the offensive end. Wolfe had four steals and three assists in a strong floor game. Evan Nielsen collected three blocked shots.

Creston (14-2) hosts Clarinda at 6 p.m. tonight at Southwestern Community College.

Creston (67) — Brandon Phipps 13, Jay Wolfe 8, Alex Nielsen 8, Cole Crawford 8, Christian Groumoutis 6, Cole Thompson 6, Maxx Walters 4, Sam Hartsock 5, Evan Nielsen 4, Jake Miller 2, Trey Benson 2, McClain Haines 1. 3-point goals — Phipps 2, Crawford 2, Hartsock 1. Free throws — 8-20. Rebounds — Benson 9, Alex Nielsen 6, Groumoutis 3. Steals — Wolfe 4. Assists — Wolfe 3. Blocks — Evan Nielsen 3 Turnovers — 6. Halftime score — Creston 25, Winterset 20.

Winterset (28) — Jake Bauer 7, Cullen Donahoe 7. Free throws — 4-8.

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