January 26, 2021

Panthers overcome 12-point deficit in road non-conference win

RED OAK – Creston boys basketball beat Red Oak in a 53-46 final Monday night, extending its win streak to three.

The win for the Panthers pushes them to 5-3 on the season and is the first time the Panthers have won three in a row since December 2019. The Tiger boys fall to 3-4 and are losers of three of their last four.

Early on for Creston, Red Oak held control of the game. A 13-9 lead through the first frame led to the Tigers extending the difference to 23-11 with under four minutes left in the first half.

Creston head coach Bryce Schafer said he was looking for the Panthers to open Monday’s game with the same energy it displayed in its 79-48 win over Denison-Schleswig Friday night.

“I was really hoping we’d carry over our momentum from Friday night,” said Schafer. “But, obviously that was not the way we had wanted to start off the game. ... It just seemed like we were flat, especially on the defensive end.”

Schafer explained how the Panthers reverted to bad habits where defenders chased their man out of the help area, didn’t protect gaps against dribble-drive and how a lack of energy led to Red Oak extending its lead.

“All-in-all, I didn’t think we were energized in the beginning of the game,” said Schafer. “Luckily, for us, the last two minutes of the second quarter and the first two or three of the third quarter were defining for us and we regained some energy and went on a run (in the second quarter). ... That kind of propelled us.”

A 12-2 run by the Panthers turned the tide, helping Creston close the gap to a one-possession game before the halftime horn. Entering the break, Red Oak narrowly led at 25-23.

The success from Creston carried into the second half, getting hot from outside and knocking down three 3-pointers to take a seven-point lead at 40-33. Through the fourth, the Panthers bent but didn’t break, leading to the 53-46 final.

“It was kind of a tale of two games in comparison to Denison and Red Oak,” said Schafer. “We got a ton of great energy from Kyle Strider. I think he had the most consistent energy all night, on both ends of the floor. Patrick Varner gave us some really great minutes, ... I thought he did a really nice job stepping into a role and giving us some length and playing hard hard.”

Leading the Panthers in scoring was Colby Burg with 16 points and Kyle Strider with 11.

Schafer mentioned one area where the team will work on picking up consistency is with the forwards and centers and will work on improving their play leading into Friday.

UP NEXT – The Panthers will take on Lewis Central (5-5) Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at home.

Schafer said part of the prep this week for the Titans Friday night is going back to the drawing board with the basics, emphasizing success on the defensive end to help lead into the offensive end.

“I think the biggest thing for us is we’ve got to get back to the basics again,” said Schafer. “Prep and drill our defensive assignments, be consistent on playing five-man defense. That end the floor leads us into the offensive end and we always shoot the ball better when we gain momentum on the defensive end.”

Creston 53, Red Oak 46

CRESTON (53) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 17 12-23 53. Colby Burg 5 4-7 16, Kyle Strider 3 3-4 11, Kaden Briggs 3 3-8 9, Clayton Stafford 3 0-0 8, Evan Bruce 1 2-4 5, Cole Strider 1 0-0 2, Patrick Varner 1 0-0 2. 3-point goals — 7 (Burg 2, Stafford 2, Kyle Strider 2). Team fouls — 15. Fouled out — none.

RED OAK (46) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 16 9-14 46. Max DeVries 5 6-2 19, Ryan Johnson 4 2-2 10, Brad Sifford 3 1-2 7, Garrett Course 3 0-0 3, Hunter Gilliland 1 0-0 2. 3-point goals — 5. Team fouls — 17. Fouled out — None.