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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jan 17, 2018

Warrior boys’ basketball completes sweep

By Justin Webster | Dec 22, 2017
Photo by: JUSTIN WEBSTER/Ledger photo Cardinal sixth grader Nicoa McClure made a free throw Tuesday night at halftime of the boys’ game and won a two liter of pop for her effort. McClure chose R.C. Cola for her prize.

A lot of points were scored Tuesday night in Cardinal, with visiting Van Buren getting the win in the boys’ game, 97-40.

By the time Head Coach Michael Strasko took a timeout with 2:25 left in the first period, the Warriors held a 15-2 lead and junior Jaeden Gerig had 10 points. When the first eight minutes elapsed, Van Buren led 24-5, but their offense was just getting started.

Instead of coasting to a conference victory with a 31-7 lead with 5:02 left in the second, Head Coach Fred Parsons kept pressing the Comet offense with his defense and the Warriors actually increased their scoring from the first period, out pacing Cardinal 32-15.

Down 37 points at halftime, Cardinals’ Coach Strasko said he doesn’t think Parsons was running up the score, but he does suggest that his team learned more from the game then Parsons squad.

“I know we learned more about post defense then they learned about posting up.” He continued, “We also learned more about breaking the press, than I believe they did running theirs.”

Van Buren did not let up in the third quarter, pushing their lead to 50 by the end of the third.

Coach Parsons explained his strategy.

“In the fourth quarter, I told them we’re going to make four passes before a shot.” He even referenced his teams attempt to hit triple digits. “100, sure that’s a magical number, but it’s unimportant, it’s the way you execute. Eventually, we went to five passes, but if a kids has a layup with a straight-line to the basket, and they allow him to get to the basket, so be it. We weren’t trying to rub it in.”

With a large crowd in attendance from both schools, the Warrior faithful cheered as many of their younger players piled up their point totals.

“Our junior varisty is pretty good,” said Parsons. We’re 7-1, and those kids that played at the end are on our JV team. They are very competitive in practice, which makes it better for the varsity. We’re improving.”

That being said Parsons doesn’t believe his team is as good as they looked Tuesday.

“I don’t consider us in the upper echelon of teams in the conference. I think there are four or five teams that are not only senior-led, but that have a lot of experienced kids, so it’ll be tough. I think our kids are progressing, execution is good but mentally more than anything. They like to win, and I think they like to score. I think that’s a big thing and I think that will give us some confidence, we’ll find out Thursday versus Scotland County.

Van Buren’s Gerig ended the night as the scoring champion, netting 26 points on 12 for 17 shooting and 2-3 from the charity strip. Junior Caleb Johnson added 17 points, two rebounds and three assists. Also reaching double digits for the Warriors was junior Isaac Caston, who netted 10 points, two rebounds and an assist.

Next for Coach Strasko is a two-week break in games, but he said his team will get back at it next week once the holidays are over. Coach Fred and his team will host Scotland County, Missouri Thursday night in Keosauqua with tipoff scheduled to follow the girls’ game which usually is around 7:30 p.m.

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