Panther boys basketball now 12-1 after beating Prescott
Middle Border Conference opponents have not been a problem for the St. Croix Central boys basketball team this season.
The Panthers improved to 4-0 against MBC teams and 12-1 overall with a 70-57 win at Prescott on Monday night.
Facing the opponents from the larger schools in the MBC has kept the Panthers sharp. They excelled in the offensive end on Monday, with four players scoring in double figures. Brad Walen and Kyle Cress each scored 13 points and Charlie Clark and Cody Olson each tallied 11 points.
Offense wasn't the problem in the first half in Monday's game. The Panthers trailed 36-34 at halftime after letting Prescott get a large percentage of its shots in the paint. The Panthers made a concerted effort to improve their help defense in the second half. That resulted in the Panthers outscoring Prescott 36-21 in the half.
Panther coach Mike Fern said the team's post players stood out in this game, particularly Walen and Clark. Fern credited Andrew Thomley with strong play off the bench for the Panthers.
"Our offense took a couple steps forward," Fern said of Monday's game.
Prescott was the team that eliminated Central from the WIAA regional tournament last year, but Fern said that wasn't a big motivating factor.
Tested by Boyceville
Winning on the road in the D-SC is something that never gets taken for granted. The Panthers went to Boyceville last Tuesday and had their hands full with the Bulldogs. Central managed to get out of Boyceville with a 56-47 win.
At halftime the Panthers led 22-21. In the third quarter, led by Cress, the Panthers built up a 6-8 point margin. They kept that edge through the rest of the game.
The Panthers played without starting forward David Butler, who suffered a concussion in the win over Colfax. Starting guard Luke Brown picked up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game and sat for the rest of the first half.
Fern said he thought the Panthers had trouble bouncing back after the intensity of the Colfax game.
"There's no excuse, we just didn't play up to par," Fern said.
Cress led the Panthers with 12 points and Olson scored eight points.
The Panthers will be playing at home this Thursday, with Spring Valley as the visitor. Next Tuesday the Panthers make the trip to Glenwood City, where the Hilltoppers have traditionally been a tough opponent.