February 03, 2023

Panther boys hang on, 57-56

A balanced Creston effort overcame the inside dominance of Lewis Central 6-7 center Colby Souther in a 57-56 home victory Friday night.

In front of a boisterous crowd in an atmosphere that resembled postseason tournament basketball, Creston snagged control of the action with a 20-7 second quarter to take a 33-25 halftime lead.

Lewis Central rallied in the third quarter to pull within a point (44-43) and it remained close down the stretch in a wild finish.

With 5:20 to play Cael Turner drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to provide a 51-43 cushion. As the Titans kept responding on their end, Jake Hoyt scored on a spinning drive in the lane to keep it a seven-point lead at 54-47.

Leading 54-51 in the final two minutes, Patrick Varner delivered a big 3-pointer to make it a six-point game with 1:30 left.

Souther, who was nearly unstoppable inside with a game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for Lewis Central, was fouled and converted two free throws to make it 57-54, and teammate Curtis Witte scored with :37.2 left to cut it to 57-56.

On the ensuing possession, Creston coach Bryce Schafer called at timeout to set up a final play with 16 seconds remaining. There was miscommunication between the passer and one of the cutters toward the basket, resulting in a turnover that allowed Lewis Central to set up a possession to win the game.

A Titan pass intended for Souther in traffic near the right side of the lane bounced out of bounds off Souther’s shin. Turner took the ball upcourt on Creston’s possession and burned the final 4.6 seconds to preserve the 57-56 victory.

The win improved Creston to 6-3 overall and 5-2 in Hawkeye Ten play. Lewis Central fell to 6-6 and 4-2.

“Anytime we can pick up a win against a team of that caliber it’s going to be good for us,” Schafer said. “I thought the crowd was great. I would like to say this will prepare us for playoff basketball, but I don’t even think playoff basketball is called this physical. They were already bigger and stronger than us, so allowed them to put their hands on us was going to make it more difficult. I applaud our guys for being able to take it.”

Five players scored at least eight points for the Panthers, led by Logan Anson’s 11 points. Kyle Strider had 10 points and three steals. Turner and Hoyt each scored nine points and Turner also provided four assists, four rebounds and three steals from the point guard position.

While Lewis Central owned a 36-19 rebounding edge including 15 on the offensive end, Creston countered with a good night from 3-point range, hitting 8 of 19 for 42.1%. Strider, Ethan Crawford and Turner each sank two from behind the arc.

After Tuesday’s 62-33 victory at Shenandoah, the Panthers return home Friday to host Carroll Kuemper Catholic in a girl-boy doubleheader.

LEWIS CENTRAL (56) — Totals — (FG FT PTS) 24 6-14 56. Colby Souther 9 1-3 19, Curtis Witte 6 3-4 15, Nash Paulson 4 1-2 10, Luke Woltmann 2 1-3 5, Boston Hensley 2 0-2 5, Jonathan Humpal 1 0-0 2. FG shooting — 24-52 (46.2 percent). 3-point goals — 2-14 (Paulson 1, Hensley 1). Steals — 10 (Larsen 4, Hensley 3). Rebounds — 36 (Souther 11, Voudry 6). Turnovers — 18. Team fouls — 16. Fouled out — none.

CRESTON (57) — Totals — (FG FT PTS) 19 11-19 57. Logan Anson 3 4-4 11, Kyle Strider 4 0-3 10, Cael Turner 3 1-2 9, Jake Hoyt 2 5-8 9, Patrick Varner 3 1-2 8, Ethan Crawford 2 0-0 6, Parker Varner 2 0-0 4. FG shooting — 19-44 (43.2 percent). 3-point goals — 8-19 (Turner 2, Crawford 2, Strider 2, Anson 1, Varner 1). Rebounds — 19 (Turner 4, Anson 4). Assists — 11 (Turner 4, Crawford 2). Steals — 8 (Turner 3, Strider 3). Blocked shots — 2 (Parker Varner 1, Hoyt 1). Turnovers — 17. Team fouls — 10. Fouled out — None.

Larry Peterson

LARRY PETERSON

Former senior feature writer at Creston News Advertiser and columnist. Previous positions include sports editor for many years and assistant editor. Also a middle school basketball coach in Creston.