When Jay Wolfe hit a stepback 3-pointer with 3:31 to go in Friday’s contest with Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln, it pulled the Panthers to within four of the Lynx at 48-44.
But, the Panthers went scoreless for the next two-plus minutes, allowing Abraham Lincoln to extend the lead back to eight points, as the Lynx went on to win 61-49.
“We’re having trouble hitting shots right now,” Creston head coach Billy Hiatt said after the loss, Creston’s fifth in a row after a 4-0 start. “We’re struggling a little bit. We haven’t had a chance to practice in our gym much. We’ve got to get it back where we’re practicing in our gym and hopefully start hitting shots.”
It was the first home game for the Panthers since the first game of the season on Dec. 6.
The Lynx outscored the Panthers 26-20 in the fourth quarter, and closed the game on a 13-5 run.
Brandon Phipps knocked down a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 35-32, but Abraham Lincoln responded with the next five points.
Colton Tracy, a 6-4 senior, scored nine points in the fourth quarter and finished with 22 for the game to lead the Lynx.
Every time the Lynx needed a bucket, they went to Tracy.
“They’re big and physical,” Hiatt said. “That’s one of our downfalls, we don’t have a lot of size. Anytime we play a bigger team, we’re just going to have to outwork them. Our guys worked tonight, we just didn’t have some shots fall. We get some shots to fall and it’s a different story.”
Meanwhile, Wolfe did everything in his power to keep the Panthers in the game in the fourth quarter. After Phipps hit his 3-pointer, Wolfe scored 12 straight points for the Panthers.
“He got going a little bit,” Hiatt said.
Wolfe finished with a game-high 23 points, including 17 in the second half.
But, Creston allowed the Lynx to get several uncontested layups in the fourth quarter.
“We gave up a couple of uncontested layups, which is frustrating,” Hiatt said. “You’d at least like to contest those, make them earn it from the stripe. But, that’s some stuff we can fix. We’ll regroup and get ready for Red Oak.”
After Abraham Lincoln opened the game with a 5-0 lead, the Panthers got going and closed the first quarter well.
Creston led 14-8 after the first quarter, getting points from a variety of players, including a pair of 3-pointers by Cole Crawford.
Wolfe made it a 16-8 lead early in the fourth quarter on a drive to the basket, but Abraham Lincoln responded with a 16-2 run to close the half and take a 24-18 lead.
“I thought we played a little harder than we have the past few games,” Hiatt said. “We competed well. We played some different guys, showed some different things. Evan Nielsen played a good game. He came in and gave us a spark there in the first half when we needed it. So we’re starting to see some stuff, we’ve just got to put it together.”
The Panthers, now 4-5 for the season, return to action Tuesday at Red Oak.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN (61) — Colton Tracy 7 8-10 22, Kyle Crowl 4 4-4 15, Adam Barrett 3 2-4 8, Joe Northup 3 1-1 8, Tony Bonner 2 0-0 4, Mike Harriman 1 0-2 2, Nick Hopkins 1 0-0 2. Totals — 21 15-21 61. 3-point goals — 4 (Crowl 1, Northup 1). Team fouls — 16. Fouled out — None.
CRESTON (49) — Jay Wolfe 8 4-4 23, Cole Crawford 2 1-4 7, Alex Nielsen 3 0-0 7, Cole Thompson 1 1-3 4, Brandon Phipps 1 0-0 3, Evan Nielsen 1 0-0 2, Trey Benson 1 0-0 2, Sam Hartsock 0 1-2 1. Totals — 17 7-13 49. 3-point goals — 8 (Wolfe 3, Crawford 2, Thompson 1, Phipps 1, A. Nielsen 1). Team fouls — 18. Fouled out — Phipps.
CBAL — 8 24 35 61
Creston — 14 18 29 49
A fourth quarter drought was the difference for the Creston JV team, as the Panthers fell to 4-4 for the season with a 62-52 loss to Abraham Lincoln on Friday.
Abraham Lincoln switched to a 2-3 zone in the fourth quarter, which was a good coaching move Creston JV coach Michael West said, as the Panthers couldn’t knock down enough shots to stay in the game.
“It was a tough loss for us here tonight,” West said. “They had a couple of big guys in there that were kind of tearing us up a bit.”
Sam Hartsock scored 22 points to lead all scorers, while Christian Groumoutis and Cooper McDermott each netted 13. Jake Miller and McClain Haines each scored two points.
Mike Harriman led Abraham Lincoln with 15 points.