RED OAK – Creston gave Class 3A No. 6 Red Oak a scare Monday night, but the Panthers’ effort was not enough to top a late comeback from the Tigers in a 49-42 loss.
Entering the third quarter the Panthers trailed by two at 36-34. Creston held a lead in the first half at eight before Red Oak reeled itself back into the game before halftime intermission.
Ultimately, Red Oak was able to pull away on an Allie West steal to a Lexie Johnson score, making it 38-34 with under a minute remaining.
The loss for the Panthers makes them 6-4 (2-2 in Hawkeye 10 play) this season. Red Oak picks up a conference win and doesn’t move in the standings, retaining first at 10-2 (6-0) overall. Creston is now sixth.
The absence of Sophie Walker, while significantly hindering the Tigers ability to score the ball early, did not change the strategy for Creston said head coach Tony Neubauer.
“Defensively we played well, ... we played them in a zone and they made a few long shots,” said Neubauer. “It was a little different with Sophie Walker not playing tonight, she was out with the flu, so obviously that changed the dynamic of the game a little bit.”
As of Monday night, Walker was the leading scorer for the Tigers with 164 points (16.4 per game) on 48% shooting from the field. She was also the leader in assists (39) and blocks (18) as well as having the second most on the team in steals (24). Instead, it was Chloe Johnson’s game as the leader as she scored 18 points, 13 of which came in the first half.
“She had the first eight points of the game and finished with 18,” said Neubauer. “... We lost track of playing her, so when we did a better job of finding her [we stopped her]. ... We need games like this. We’ll see them at home again and maybe in regional, so we have to keep on attacking in these close situations.”
Neubauer felt the downfall of the Panthers in the second half was missing shots along with a combination of smaller things. In the end, Neubauer feels there was nothing to hang your head on against as good of a team as Red Oak.
“The biggest thing with us was we didn’t hit shots in the second half,” said Neubauer. “We lost our composure a little bit and had some turnovers. We had an eight point lead in the second quarter and a three point lead in the third quarter and they hit a couple shots.
“They’re still a good basketball team, they’re really athletic and to go out on the floor with them and have a chance win at the end is a good day,” said Neubauer.
Creston was led in scoring by Fields’ 11 points. Sam Dunphy was the only other Panther in double digits with 10 points.
UP NEXT – The Creston girls will host defending Class 2A state champion Treynor tonight (Tuesday) at 6 p.m.
“Next thing is, I told the kids, we can bounce back when we play tomorrow (today),” said Neubauer. “It’s nice to get over a loss and go out and get a win.”
Red Oak 49, Creston 42
Cre (42) — 9 15 10 8
RO (49) — 10 12 14 13
CRESTON (FG FT PTS) — Totals —15 9-17 42. Kelsey Fields 3 5-10 11, Sam Dunphy 4 2-2 10, Rylie Driskell 3 0-0 9, Brianna Fields 3 0-0 6, Braelyn Baker 2 2-4 6. 3-point goals — 3 (Driskell 3). Team fouls — 14. Fouled out — Dunphy.
RED OAK (FG FT PTS) — Totals — 19 8-18 49. Chloe Johnson 8 2-3 18, Allie West 3 4-5 11, Alexis Johnson 3 1-5 8, Ellie Rengstorf 2 0-2 5, Kyndal Wells 2 1-3 5, Ellie 2 0-2 5, Chloe DeVries 1 0-0 2. 3-point goals – 3 (A. Johnson 1, West 1, Rengstorf 1). Blocked shots — none. Turnovers — 15. Team fouls — 17. Fouled out — None.