Central City’s 6’6 Nick Reid came to Edgewood averaging 34 points per game. The state’s leading scorer put up an impressive 40, 30 in the second half, against Edgewood-Colesburg, but the Vikings made enough plays down the stretch to down Reid and the Wildcats, 76-68, in an entertaining Tri-Rivers Conference contest, Dec. 21.
“They have a nice player, he can score a little bit, in case nobody knew that,” said Ed-Co coach Justin Olind. “We triangled and double-teamed him to try and slow him down. We tried to keep him in check and make their other guys beat us, but he got hot and we had to do what we could to stop him.”
While Reid was a one-man show for Central City, Ed-Co had five players score in double figures — led by Parker Rochford’s 27 — to move to 6-4 heading to the holiday break. The Wildcats dropped their second in a row to fall to 6-3 overall.
“We played well and played hard,” said Olind. “The guys kept their cool. We missed a few easy ones and some free throws — stuff we need to clean up.”
Both teams played gimmick defenses during the contest, with Ed-Co hounding Reid with multiple players, and the Wildcats employing a triangle-and-two on Rochford and Ethan Streicher.
“We weren’t getting enough motion against that triangle and two,” said Olind “The guys that had the two on them were working hard but the other guys weren’t moving like they needed to. We made some adjustments and got some guys to be more aggressive and turn the corner to the basket.”
This one got off to a bit of a slow start as both teams struggled offensively, but when Streicher scored five in a row on a breakaway layup and a three-pointer, it was 15-9 six minutes in. Reid, who had been held scoreless, then notched a pair of scores to make it 15-13 after a quarter.
Rochford went on an eight-point run of his own to open up a 23-14 lead, but a defensive miscue by the Vikings left Reid wide-open at the top of the key, and the resulting three-pointer made it 23-17.
Ed-Co sophomore Quintin Hess gave Olind some quality minutes in the second quarter, scoring eight points, including the final six of the period, to extend the Viking lead to 35-23 at the break.
“Hess came in and did a really nice job for us attacking the rim,” said Olind. “He played really well and has been coming along for us. I think he’s going to play huge minutes for us moving ahead.”
Reid, after scoring only 10 in the first half, promptly got the Cats back within range, hitting three-point baskets on Central City’s first two possessions of the third quarter. Spencer Staner answered by driving for a hoop, and threes by Rochford and Staner had Ed-Co looking to be in control at 43-29.
Reid’s third triple of the half narrowed the lead to 11, but Staner had the hot hand and knocked down another three. Riley Ashline and Rochford followed with easy baskets to stretch the gap to 50-32. When Hess nailed a trey of his own and Keegan Hansel scored after an offensive board, it was 55-40 after three.
Reid’s eight points in the first 90 seconds of the fourth period cut the lead to 55-48. The Wildcats were within five at 61-56 with three minutes remaining before Streicher got ahead in transition for a score and Keegan Hansel won a scramble for the ball and scored to make it 65-57. When Central City was assessed a technical foul following the play, Streicher knocked down both free shots, and it was 67-57 with two minutes to go. The Vikings hit 7-of-10 from the charity stripe to close things out.
“We’re working on getting more consistent,” Olind said. “We play lights out for a while and get up by 20 and let them back in it. We’re going to work on the little things that will make us better.”
Ed-Co’s statistical leaders were: scoring — Rochford 27, Streicher 14, Hess 11, Hansel and Staner 10, Ashline four; rebounds — Ashline nine, Streicher six, Hansel five, Staner four, Hess and Rochford one; assists — Streicher four, Ashline two, Rochford and Staner one; steals — Rochford six, Streicher and Ashline two, Hess, Jared Childers and Staner one; blocks — Ashline and Rochford two.
The Vikings played unbeaten North Linn tough for a half before dropping a 98-54 decision to the Lynx, Dec. 18, at Troy Mills.
Ed-Co trailed only 23-19 after a quarter and 48-35 at the half before a 27-8 third-quarter run by the Lynx sealed the deal.
“We know we can play with people, we’re just not quite there yet,” said Olind. “The guys are starting to figure it out — starting to believe. The boys earned everything they got in that first half.”
“North Linn is a good team. They play four quarters at the same speed. We played two quarters and then the court got way longer. It’s really hard to slow it down against them because they don’t allow you to do that.”
Jake Hilmer paced North Linn with 24 points and 14 assists.
Ed-Co’s statistical leaders were: scoring — Streicher 21, Rochford 14, Ashline seven, Childers and Staner four, Hansel and Tony Wright two; rebounds — Ashline and Hansel five, Staner four, Streicher three, Rochford two; assists — Rochford five, Staner three, Streicher and Hansel two, Jake Jones one; steals — Streicher and Hansel one.