Written by STEVE OSTERMANN
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 17:03
Sometimes a sluggish start is just too much to overcome.
After falling behind by 12 points in the first quarter, the Cedar Grove-Belgium boysâ basketball team kept scrapping but never got over the hump in a 69-59 loss to Howards Grove on Feb. 9.
The host Rockets trailed, 20-8, at the end of a turnover-filled opening period and faced a deficit as large as 17 points before making a second-half run. But the rally never got them closer than seven points on the way to a Central Lakeshore Conference defeat.
âWe struggled with handling Howardsâ pressure and had seven turnovers in the first quarter,â Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Jim Meinen said.
âThat set the stage for us struggling all night.â
The Rockets, who fell to 5-7 in CLC play, saw Howards Grove convert their early miscues into quick baskets.
Mike Davis scored 10 points in the first quarter for the Tigers (9-4), who hit four three-point shots during the run.
âAfter the first quarter, we settled down and played pretty well, but we couldnât recover completely,â Meinen said.
Noah Steines finished with 17 points to lead Howards Grove, which took a 51-37 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Tigers also got 16 points from Davis and 11 from Garrett Jahnke.
Cedar Grove-Belgium was led by guard Kyle Kirst, who scored 15 points before fouling out. Josh Ruppel had 11 points, and T.J. Obbink added nine.
Meinen praised the play of Luke Kaat, who didnât score but did a solid defensive job in limiting standout Ashton Holzman to eight points.
The Rockets were hurt by the absence of front-line players Jon Herzog and R.J. Lemmerman. Herzog, their best rebounder, remained sidelined due to an Achilles tendon injury, and Lemmerman missed the game because of illness.
âWe havenât quite been able to get it together,â Meinen said. âBut I told the kids after the game that if we can get healthy, we can still make a run.â
The Rockets, who slipped to 8-10 overall, will try to bounce back with a stretch of conference games to end the regular season.
They faced Sheboygan Christian on Feb. 14 and will play 7:30 p.m. contests at home against Random Lake this Thursday and at Ozaukee on Feb. 21.
Image Information: CEDAR GROVE-BELGIUMâS Spencer Bares tried to avoid a Howards Grove defender as he drove to the basket. Photo by Sam Arendt