Cardinal cagers open 2017-18 season

c nelson
BC/NG boys bounce back for split
With limited practice time due to playing in the state football final and the Thanksgiving holiday, Hartington Cedar Catholic was not an ideal opponent for the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals to face in the 2017-18 season opener.
Cedar Catholic, an athletic veteran team, used full court defensive pressure to force 20 Cardinal turnovers and sparked a 52-45 victory at Boone Central High School with a 12-0 run to close the third period.
BC/NG committed 12 of its turnovers in the first half, but trailed by just four points, 24-20, at intermission with the help of Dylan Gentrup’s eight points. Gentrup then paced a 15-2 Cardinal flurry to open the second half, sinking a pair of 3-point field goals and a driving layup.
The resulting 35-26 lead would not hold up, however. Cedar Catholic’s Matthew Becker twice scored back-to-back baskets during the Trojans’ 12-0 run and scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the final 11 minutes. The visitors outscored a fatigued, fouol-plagued BC/NG squad 18-10 in the fourth quarter.
“We played some really good basketball at times. I thought we played pretty well on the defensive end – we just needed to finish some of those possessions with a rebound,” said Cardinal Coach Justin Harris. “Cedar Catholic did a great job of putting some pressure on us and I didn’t prepare the boys enough for the possibility of a press.”
Determined to not start a new season 0-2, Boone Central/Newman Grove came out with a bit of extra fire at Lakeview Saturday and scorched the nets for 23 first-quarter points to spark a 63-51 victory over the Vikings.
The Cardinals grabbed a 23-9 lead and never trailed in the contest.
“We got off to the start we needed and maintained that lead through the majority of the game,” Harris noted. “We needed to do a better job of finding shooters, but I thought our play was solid and we did a better job of rebounding.
“Offensively, we moved the ball better and had more ball reversals that led to some great looks inside. That is something we need to continue to do better to make the defense shift.”
BC/NG improved its shooting measurably at Columbus, sinking 21-of-50 field goal attempts (42%), including 6-of-16 behind the arc (37.5%).
Young Lady Cards competitive
A youthful Boone Central/Newman Grove girls basketball team was competitive, but could not garner a victory on the opening weekend of the 2017-18 season.
Visiting Hartington Cedar Catholic rode a 21-point third period and Anna Reifenrath’s 26 points to a 62-54 victory over BC/NG in Mid-State Conference play Friday.
The Cardinals forged a 13-11 lead through eight minutes and trailed by just three points, 28-25, at halftime. Reifenrath found the range in the third quarter, however, hitting two 3-point shots and leading Cedar Catholic’s 21-point charge with 14 points.
Boone Central soph Lauren Hedlund scored nine of her 28 game-high points in the final stanza, but couldn’t pull the Cards all the way back.
“We had a couple of turnovers toward the end of the second quarter that allowed Cedar Catholic some easy baskets,” noted Card Coach Andy Imus. “We lost #40 (Reifenrath) a couple of times in the third quarter. We need to understand personnel a little better and acknowledge where the shooters are at. We didn’t defend the perimeter like we talked about at halftime, particularly #40.
“We continued to fight and got within four, but just could not keep the momentum to cut farther into their lead. Our girls competed and had great effort against a good, athletic team. Just a couple of possessions cost us – a turnover on our part or leaving #40 open.”
Boone Central/Newman Grove gave another great effort Saturday, but came up on the short end of a 46-40 score at Columbus Lakeview. The Vikings took a 30-22 in the first half and held off Cardinal rally attempts, despite scoring just three points in the final quarter.
“We would cut their lead to 3-4 points, but had too many empty possessions that hurt us,” Imus commented. “We struggled against Lakeview’s 1-3-1 defense at times. They had great length – three starters over 5’10 – that caused us fits with our passing. We need to understand to stay on attack against a zone, know where the seams are and who we need to screen to allow us to get into the middle of it.
“I didn’t think our man defense looked as sharp and our rotations were slow at times. We made some mistakes I need to be patientwith, as we are a fairly young team.
“One thing that cannot be questioned is our girls’ effort and competitiveness, which are great building blocks for this team,” Imus praised. “We need to continue to work on ball security and guard play moving forward.”
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