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Patterns emerge in St. Croix Central boys basketball losses

St. Croix Central guard D.J. Holland (right) drives toward the baseline, looking to make an inlet pass to the post in a recent Panther game against Spring Valley.

If recognizing the problems is half the battle, the St. Croix Central boys team could be on the way to turning things around.

The Panthers dropped to 1-10 for the season with a pair of Dunn-St. Croix Conference losses late last week. The Panthers lost on their home court on Saturday to Mondovi 63-41. That came two days after the Panthers were turned back by Glenwood City 59-43.

Central coach Zach Turpin said these games followed almost identical patterns. In Turpin’s opinion, the Panthers had specific areas where they were beaten. He said giving up too many second chance hoops, and giving the ball away too often on unnecessary turnovers, were the Panthers’ downfall in both games.

“I bet we gave up 20 points in each game off turnovers and second shots,” Turpin said.

In the loss at Glenwood City, Turpin said the Hilltoppers crashed the offensive boards aggressively and the Panthers didn’t do well at screening them off the boards. The Panthers managed just 22 rebounds in the loss, with no Central player getting more than four rebounds.

The Panthers fell behind 22-10 in the first quarter against the Hilltoppers. The Panthers kept making small charges in the game, but could never catch up to the Toppers. The Panthers did have some success getting the ball inside on Thursday, with Josh Freyholtz and John Spaeth both scoring nine points to lead the team.

Turpin said he thought the Panthers played solid half-court defense in both of the losses. He said that’s what made the lack of rebounding more disheartening, because the team had worked so hard to get their opponent to take a lower quality shot.

Against Mondovi, Josh Albright led the Panthers with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Jason Matteson contributed nine points. The Panthers have had eight different players score in double figures at least once this season. The question is, which players will score in which game? Turpin said the coaches are hoping the next step is having players be able to score consistently in the 10-12 point range, so they have some stability in the scoring column from week-to-week.

Turpin said he doesn’t have a problem with all of the team’s turnovers. He said some of the turnovers are from the Panthers making strong moves to the basket, which is something the coaches have been promoting.

The Panthers are now in a stretch of four straight home games. They will be at home this Friday, facing Plum City. Next Monday, the Panthers get a visit from the Elmwood squad that resides at the bottom of the D-SC standings.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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