News That Matters To Antelope County - Your News. Your Way. Every Day!
© Pitzer Digital, LLC
The Clearwater/Orchard girls and boys basketball teams split their Tuesday night matchup against Riverside.
The Lady Cyclones cruised past Riverside, 43-21.
"I thought we played a lot better," stated OC girls mentor Scott Leisy. "That was the best half of basketball, in the second half, we've played. You could see our confidence growing and we executed better than we had in two-and-a-half games. When you get almost 30 (points) out of your post players, you feel really good. Avery (Cheatum) and Katie (Stearns) had really nice games tonight. When you get 30 out of them, you're going to put yourself in position to win a lot."
Offense was hard to come by in the opening quarter, as both teams combined to make seven baskets and turned the ball over 18 times.
"Coach (Leisy) told us to slow down and make sure we had the pass before we made it," spoke Cheatum. "We needed to make sure they were open before we made the pass."
Tied at eight after the first, OC's defense was able to pick up where the offense struggled, shutting out the Lady Chargers in the second quarter and taking a 14-8 lead into the break.
Stearns and Morgan Haschke were the two lone offensive bright spots for their respective teams in the first half. Haschke scored all eight of Riverside's (0-1) first-half points, while Stearns netted 10 of the Lady Cyclones' 14 in the first.
The offense finally going in the third, as OC (2-1) outscored Riverside, 12-3, in the quarter.
The Lady Cyclones sealed the win with a 17-10 run to end the game.
"We really worked the ball into our post tonight, and that really helped us," Cheatum said. "Katie (Stearns) really took advantage of the game. Katie and I worked well tonight, especially on the boards. Everyone worked together really well."
Following a sloppy start, OC calmed down and played better down the stretch, especially defensively. The Lady Cyclones held the Lady Chargers to three points in a two-quarter span and turned 26 Riverside turnovers into 11 points.
"We've struggled to score and that's going to be a common theme for us this year," Leisy noted. "It's something we're going to have to keep improving at, but we have to win on the defensive end. I was proud of the way we played for about two-and-a-half quarters. I thought we got a little lazy towards the fourth quarter. We got a little handsy and got undisciplined, but we set the tone, We extended the lead in the second quarter and anytime you can hold someone scoreless, you really feel good about where you are at. Through three games, I really can't complain about the way we played defensively. I'm really happy with the way they've adjusted."
Stearns led OC with a game-high 16 points, nine rebounds, two steals and three assists. Cheatum recorded 12 points, eight boards, two steals and an assist, Julian Tuttle and Kaci Wickersham each netted a 3-pointer, Julia Thiele, Taylor Sanne and Holly Schacht each tallied 2 points and Elly Herley had 1 point.
The green and black won the rebound battle, 32-27, and scored 12 second-chance points in the win.
"Those (second-chance points) were really important tonight," Cheatum remarked. "We had a little bit of a size advantage, and we normally don't have a size advantage, but tonight we did. That really helped us."
In the boys contest, Riverside shot past OC, 81-52.
“We knew Riverside coming in had some really, really nice players returning, who were all-state a year ago,” commented OC boys coach Jim Schutt. “(Tredyn) Prososki showed that you better find him when he comes out of the locker room with the way he shoots. He proved tonight that he's one of the premiere guards in the state. (Joseph) Bloom, the big kid, compliments him. They have a lot of good pieces and are a very athletic team. That was a nice team we played tonight."
After falling behind 10-3, the Cyclones went on a 5-3 run to cut the deficit to five, but the Chargers answered with an 11-4 run to end the quarter.
A 14-2 run to start the second, increased Riverside's (1-0) advantage to 38-14.
Leading 61-38 heading into the final stanza, the Chargers scored 20 of the first 30 points in the fourth to seal the win.
Despite a 32-point loss, there were numerous positives for the Cyclones. OC (2-1) put up 52 points against one of the top teams in Class D2, snagged 28 rebounds and won the turnover battle, 18-12.
“After we study the tape and look on paper, you might go 'We didn't play all that bad',” Schutt said. “They (Riverside) just played awful, awful well. There was things we can do better, find the shooters and close out and maybe I should of got out of our defense and that's on me, but we will learn from it. Second half, our kids really competed hard. They could have hung there heads and quit, but they competed well."
Bloom and Prososki combined to score 48 of the Chargers’ 81 points in the win.
Blake Hoke led the Cyclones with 20 points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals. Gage Clifton netted 10 points, Ryan Wilhelm recorded 10 points and seven boards, Chris Kester had 6 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, Gage Switzer added 4 points and Mason Hoke pitched in 2 points.
Clearwater/Orchard returns to action Friday as the Cyclones travel to Niobrara to face the Cougars. The girls begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the boys.
“They're a lot like us,” Leisy said. “They're a scrappy, defensive team and they'er better than they were last year, and I think we are too. It should be a good game. We have to go on the road and it's never easy to win on the road. We saw that last week when we went to (O'Neill) St. Mary's and played. We have to play how we did tonight, build off of that second half and carry that over into Niobrara."
“They have to remember to take one game at a time,” Schutt concluded. “Every game is going to be tough and you have to learn from that. I'm a rearview mirror type guy. After it's over, I like to put that one in the rearview mirror and we have to keep looking forward because that's where we are headed."