Slow start stalls St. Croix Central boys basketball team
Falling behind by double digits in the first quarter left the St. Croix Central boys basketball team in a hole it couldn’t dig out from in last Friday’s game at St. Croix Falls.
The Saints are the leaders of the Lakeland West Conference and they looked the part in beating the Panthers 59-42 on Friday. The loss drops the Panthers to 1-7 for the season.
Central coach Zach Turpin said he thought the Panthers looked rusty in their first game in two weeks, though the team practiced frequently over the break. The rust showed most on defense, with the 59 points being the most the Panthers have surrendered all season.
St. Croix Falls built a 17-6 lead by the end of the first quarter and the Panthers struggled to get the margin into single figures all night.
Two bench players were the bright spots for the Panthers in this game. Junior Tyler Anderson scored a career-high 16 points and junior Josh Albright contributed 10 points.
“Tyler’s a very good shooter. He made the most of his opportunity,” Turpin said.
Anderson hit four three-pointers during the game. St. Croix Falls was one of the few teams that has used a zone defense against the Panthers and Anderson was able to find gaps in the defense to hit perimeter shots.
Albright is part of the Panthers’ rotation of husky post players, along with John Spaeth and Doug Cottrell.
“They’re still learning how to use their size,” Turpin said of his post players. “Josh probably uses his size the best of the three.”
Albright was able to get his points by making quick flashes down the lane to make himself a target for passes. He also had several offensive rebounds that he converted into points.
St. Croix Falls was a team with skilled offensive players and the Panthers play a similar team this Friday when they host Spring Valley. The Cards started the week with a 6-1 record. They are led by Zac Webster, who is averaging 19 points per game.