Wolverines upset in conference semifinals

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    Sidney out-scored East Mills 7-3 in the overtime period to post a 45-41 victory over the Wolverines in the semifinals of the Corner Conference Boys Basketball Tournament on Thursday.

    Neither team shot the ball well from the field with East Mills shooting slightly better at 34.8 percent to the Cowboys’ 30.2 percent, but Sidney made more free throws (19) than the Wolverines shot (16). Sidney also held a 33-30 rebounding edge.
    Luke Schafer led East Mills with 13 points. Daniel Duysen and Kaleb Richter added seven points each.
    Jacob Cain led Sidney with 10. Casey Cruickshank added nine.

East Mills 54,
Clarinda Academy 38
    East Mills downed Clarinda Academy 54-38 in the third place consolation game of the Corner Conference tournament Saturday.
    The Wolverines out-scored the Eagles 31-20 in the second half to pull away.
    Luke Schafer led East Mills with 20 points. Colden Hillyer added 14.
    Kalif Brown led Clarinda Academy with 11 points.

East Mills 52,
Villisca 33
    On a night when its offense struggled, it was the East Mills defense that stepped up.
    The Wolverines held Villisca to 31.7 percent shooting and a season-low in points in a 52-33 victory in the second round of the Corner Conference Tournament in Essex last Tuesday.
    “We’ll take it. We struggled mightily against them last time so we’ll take it,” said East Mills coach Kevin Schafer.
     Schafer said his team, which beat Villisca 56-48 on Jan. 10, was tuned in defensively on a night the offense didn’t come so easy.
    “Defensively we played so much better than we did last time,” Schafer said. Bluejay post-player Damon Sunderman burned the Wolverines for 19 points in their last meeting but had just four on Tuesday. “He hurt us inside pretty bad last time and Bassich and our help defense did a good job on him tonight. Our defense was much better than it was last time. Our defense led to some transition buckets that we didn’t get the last time we played them. I thought that was key, especially with how we were struggling shooting.”
    After the Wolverines  took an early  8-7 after a quarter, the Wolverines buckled down on the defensive end and rattled off a 12-2 run to take control. Charlie Ruff’s layup put the Wolverines out in front 26-12 at intermission.
    The Bluejays managed to trim that lead to 34-25 at the end of the third frame, but a 12-0 run, keyed by buckets by Luke Schafer, Daniel Duysen and Pierre Bassich,  to open the final quarter to give the Wolverines a 46-25 lead. Villisca never got closer than 19 points over the final three minutes.
    The Wolverines’ 52 points were also a season-low. Continuing a post-holiday trend, East Mills (10-2 overall, 6-1 in the conference) didn’t look crisp on offense and shot just 44.2 percent from the field.
    “We’ve been struggling for a little while,”  Schafer said of his out-of-synch offense. “Since Christmas we haven’t been as sharp as we were and we’re not shooting as well as a team. Hopefully, we can get that  straightened out because I don’t think we can hold teams down like this all season.”
    Luke Schafer led all scorers with 16 points. Junior center Colden Hillyer scored 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds.