The East Mills boys basketball team improved to 5-1 on the season with a 74-50 victory over Essex Friday.
The Wolverines (5-1 overall, 5-0 in the Corner Conference) scored 41 first half points and led by 23 at halftime.
East Mills shot just 39.7 percent from the field (27-of-68) but a sharp defensive effort held the Trojans to 12-of-43 shooting from the field (27.9 percent) while holding a 46-14 rebounding edge.
Jacob Schafer led East Mills with 19 points and four assists. Keegan Wederquist scored 18 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked seven shots.
Gunnar Glasgo paced Essex with 10 points.
Fremont-Mills out-scored Nishnabotna 20-12 in the fourth quarter but couldn’t complete the comeback in a 50-47 loss to the Blue Devils Friday.
The Knights (1-4) trailed 12-3 after a quarter and played catch up over the final three quarters.
Austin Switzer led Fremont-Mills with 17 points. Jason Rusten chipped in 10 points and two steals.
East Mills 86,
Clarinda Academy 60
Keegan Wederquist scored a career-high 36 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for East Mills in a 86-60 victory over Clarinda Academy Thursday in Clarinda.
The Wolverines shot a season-high 52.3 percent from the field (33-of-63) and out-rebounded Clarinda Academy 38 to 30.
Wederquist was 16-of-22 from the field and 4-of-5 at the free throw line on his career night. He added two assists and two blocked shots
Jacob Schafer added 19 points, Logan Currin 18 and Noah Meyer 10 in the victory.
Maurice Dawkins led the Eagles with 28 points.
East Mills 66,
TABOR - Except for a five minute span in the first and third quarters, East Mills coach Kevin Schafer thought his team’s defense was the difference in its 66-50 victory over Fremont-Mills last Tuesday at the Lied Gymnasium.
“Take out those two stretches and I thought we played pretty good defense,” Schafer said after the game.
With no dominant post presence, the Knights (1-3) posed a defensive problem for the Wolverines with screens and basket cuts.
“They’re quicker than us and they put five kids out there that can all hit three’s,” Schafer said. “They’re tough to match up with there just like we’re tough for them to match up with at certain spots. But we had to cover everybody at the three point line, everybody had to defend the dribble. There were stretches where their quickness and good cuts bothered us. Our help defense got better and we were fortunate to his some three’s.”
Luckily for Schafer, when the Wolverines’ defense wasn’t at it’s best, Keegan Wederquist and Logan Currin were.
After building an early 14-7 lead, the Knights closed the first quarter with a 12-4 run to take control. But the lead would be brief as East Mills rattled off 12 straight points – eight by Wederquist – to take a 32-27 at halftime.
Wederquist scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half when he dominated the paint on both ends of the court. In the third quarter, a Knight defense adjustment clogged the lane and Currin went to work from the perimeter. Currin hit three of his five three pointers in a late third quarter run that put the Wolverines ahead 52-39 heading into the fourth quarter. Currin finished with 20 points.
“Keegan did a very good job in the first half and in the third quarter they went to a kind of triangle and two to take him out of the game and we were very fortunate to hit some shots when Logan got hot,” Schafer said.
The Knights never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way. Michael Story’s 13-footer gave the Wolverines their biggest lead of the game at 62-44 with just under four minutes to go.
In all, East Mills out-scored Fremont-Mills 34-23 in the second half.
As good as his defense was, Schafer was most proud of his team’s offensive patience.
“We talked a lot about not taking the first open shot, we tend to do that,” Schafer said. “We took a timeout in that third quarter and talked about taking three or four passes before we shot and we did that. We ended up probably taking the same shot we would have but it was in rhythm and it made the defense work a little more.”
Fremont-Mills coach Mike Wood said the combination of the Wolverines’ strong post play and tough on-ball defense made it difficult for his team all night.
“They’re post players, Wederquist was tough but also Noah Meyer, they just made it tough around the block,” said Fremont-Mills coach Mike Wood. “That’s where our size really hurts us. We don’t have that post player we’ve had over the years. We’re going to have to just keep scrapping and running up and down the court until we score more points than them.”
Meyer chipped in 10 points off the bench for East Mills.
Austin Switzer and Tristan Melgoza led Fremont-Mills with 14 points each.
Clarinda Academy 73
Fremont-Mills rallied back from 10-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat Clarinda Academy 74-73 in Corner Conference boys basketball on Dec. 6.
The Knights out-scored the Eagles 24-13 in the final frame while shooting 60.4 percent from the field (29-of-48). Tristan Melgoza’s punctuated the win near perfect shooting night. Melgoza, a sophomore forward, scored 33 points on 15-of-16 shooting from the field.
Jason Fleuren added 14 and Jason Rusten 12 for the Knights.