Card Cagers Open ’09 With Good Holiday Effort

Olson Muscles In TwoIt’s likely the goal for the Boone Central Cardinals in the St. Paul Holiday Tournament was to regain some confidence and momentum following a 1-4 start to the season.
If so, consider it “mission accomplished”.
Although Boone Central did not win the annual event, the Cardinals opened the tournament by spanking the Gothenburg Swedes 71-48, then pushed undefeated host St. Paul to the final seconds in a 51-48 championship game loss.
All in all, a successful start to the 2009 portion of the basketball season.
“Our kids played hard, battled through some tough spots and never gave up,” acknowledged Cardinal Coach Dan Zoucha. “We shot the ball better in both games and rebounded well.
“We will continue to work defensively on not allowing uncontested shots and consistently having better team defense.
“All in all, it was a pretty good start to ‘09 and we need to continue building on that.”
Boone Central was in control much of Friday’s opening round game vs. Gothenburg, turned back a second-half bid by the Swedes, then put the pedal-to-the-metal in the final quarter to pull away for the 23-point win.
“The overall play of our team was pretty good in many respects,” Zoucha commented. “Any time you take a few days off (holiday break), there are always parts of the game that may not be as sharp as one would like.
“We started a little slow. There were portions of the second and third quarters where we had a few breakdowns defensively and allowed Gothenburg to get a little closer than we would have liked.
“The fourth quarter was much different,” he added. “We were able to cause 11 turnovers and converted many of those mistakes to points.
“This was a much-needed win for our team. All of our players contributed in some fashion in this win.”

Although it didn’t result in a ‘W’, Boone Central’s effort Saturday in a three-point loss to undefeated St. Paul might have been even more impressive.
“The effort against St. Paul was very good,” praised Zoucha. “We felt we played very hard – unfortunately, the outcome was not what we wanted.
“We had a nice run at the end of the first half and felt this gave us some momentum,” he noted. “At halftime, we stressed to the team that St. Paul would increase their pressure and we would need to handle it.
“The start of the second half saw us give the ball up four times and each of those turnovers were converted into points by St. Paul. We got a little nervous and made a few poor passes.
“However, we got through that point of the game and then just played,” Zoucha pointed out. “We were able to tie the game at 40 and again at 48, but at each of those times, we either turned the ball over or didn’t get the good shot we needed at that time.
“We had a chance at the end, but the shot just did not stick.”

Complete Details in Print Edition of Albion News.