A busy final week before the holiday break began on a downbeat for the Boone Central boys basketball team, but ended on a high note as the Cardinals clipped host West Holt Saturday for their second victory of the season.
Boone Central, 2-5, will next host the annual Holiday Tournament Dec. 28-29 in Albion, facing Gothenburg in a first-round game.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity at the holiday tournament and believe we’re making progress as a team,” said Card Coach Dan Zoucha.
Boone Central players might have felt like they were running in quicksand Tuesday, Dec. 14, against visiting Twin River.
While BC struggled to put any facet of their game together, the Titans seemed to connect on just about every shot they attempted in the opening half of a 59-35 victory.
Twin River capitalized on Card turnovers and defensive breakdowns to race to a 16-6 lead, then used a 21-4 second-quarter blitz to build a 37-10 halftime advantage.
“The poor start really hampered us against Twin River,” Zoucha acknowledged. “Twelve of their 16 points in the 1st quarter were on transition baskets.
“The 2nd half went better, but we were not able to overcome the large deficit. While we did rebound better offensively, we only got a few putbacks. We have been trying to reduce our number of fouls and turnovers, as this has given opponents more chances to score.”
The progress Zoucha alluded to began to show Thursday in another home tilt against Mid-State Conference rival Norfolk Catholic.
Although the highly-ranked Knights scored a 50-40 victory, Boone Central battled evenly throughout the contest and was within striking distance down the stretch.
“Norfolk Catholic is a very talented team with a lot of weapons – we knew a few things would have to go our way to be successful,” Zoucha commented. “One thing was to compete and put a lot of pressure on them and we believe we did that.
“It has been a rough go for our young team and the effort and confidence we played with in this game shows the potential we have. We were within three points in the middle of the fourth quarter and down six with 1:31 to play.
“We just needed a break and a bucket to fall. We are proud of the effort and this is something we need to build on.”
A strong overall game and clutch free throw shooting keyed Boone Central’s 61-45 victory at Atkinson West Holt Saturday.
The Cardinals sank 13-of-22 at the line in the final period after a strong third-quarter run staked BC to a double-digit lead.
“This was a tightly-called game and both teams were on the free throw line throughout,” Zoucha noted. “We are shooting foul shots better, which allowed us to maintain a lead in the second half.
“We needed our entire bench as the fouls mounted,” he added. “Every minute from each player was very important. We can call this a real team win.”
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