Warrior defense, Seeland star in 46-31 win over West Central

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By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

The Central boys basketball team put together a solid performance in a 46-31 victory over West Central (1-10) on Jan. 12. 

The game was tied at halftime, before the Warriors pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Blue Devils 29-14. 

Central shot an impressive 43.2 percent from the field and had a surprise offensive explosion from senior Tommy Seeland, who returned from a rib injury and went 6-6, finishing with a team-high 14 points off the bench. Teammates Hazen Loan and Evan Pensel both scored nine points, while Parker Vaughn had six. 

“Tommy gave us great energy in the second half when we really needed it. He did an excellent job of getting into the right spots of our zone offense and making the correct plays when he got the basketball. His contribution went beyond his scoring, as he helped us in rebounding and took two charges on the defensive end which were big momentum plays for us,” coach Brady Stramer said. “Upon his return, he had to get caught up both mentally and physically. We hope he can continue to bring us energy moving forward in the season.”

The team distributed the ball effectively as well, finishing with 11 assists. Pensel and Abenet Lammers led the team with three each. Vaughn and Elliot Kelly both had two assists. 

The Warriors also had a good rebounding game, coming up with 22. They were led by Lammers, Loan and Kelly, who all had four rebounds. Seeland and Parker Smith added three each.  

On the defensive side, the team came up with eight steals, led by Pensel and Vaughn, who each had two. Dan McGreal had one block. 

Central managed to hold the Blue Devils to seven points in the second period and just three points in the third. 

“I thought our overall intensity really increased in the second half. Beyond that, we did a good job of communicating in our zone defense and limiting their offensive rebounds,” Stramer said. 

But the team still struggled with turnovers, committing 11, and had difficulty staying out of foul trouble, with 18 for the game. 

“We did foul too many times in the second half, especially in the early third quarter, which had a couple of our guys in foul trouble. In the future, we have to do a better job of playing with that intensity but doing it in a controlled way that keeps us out of foul trouble and our opponents off the free throw line,” Stramer added. 

As for the turnover issue, Stramer said, “Our turnover numbers have gotten better as of late, and I attribute a lot of that to guys playing more controlled with the ball, but also guys without the ball moving and creating passing lanes. We need to do a better job defensively of moving our feet and rebounding.”

Coming back from winter break, the Warriors look to remain focused on short-term goals, such as continuing to improve, peaking for postseason play and, as Stramer said, “making the most of each day.”

The Warriors head into this week on a two-game winning streak, their first of the season. They hosted Waterloo Christian (4-8) on Jan. 18, before going on the road Tuesday, Jan. 19, at Clayton Ridge (5-6). Central will finish the week at home versus North Fayette Valley (10-1) on Friday, Jan. 22.

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