BCLUW zone prohibits Mustang comeback, 63-38

LE GRAND – When it comes to defense, Austin Schlatter believes in old-school, man-to-man principles.

But if his Comets continue to defend from the zone like they did Friday, the coach may be changing his tune.

Using a 3-2 zone to wreak havoc on East Marshall’s offense with its length all night, the BCLUW boys basketball team broke away in the second quarter for a 63-38 victory in North Iowa Cedar League West Division play.

“I’m really proud of the way we played defensively,” said Schlatter. “I’m not a big zone guy at all. I prefer man-to-man, but with this team and our length, that’s something that we can (use to) cause a lot of problems for an offense. Just getting in passing lanes with those long arms and just annoying people.”

The Comets used that strategy to string together a 15-2 surge in the second quarter, breaking open a 26-9 lead with 2:38 left in the half. BCLUW’s length and size came from all angles as Tanner Teske led a quartet of double-digit scorers with 14 points. Connor Ubben drained four 3-pointers for 12 points, Grant Frazer added 11 and Ty Runge 10 as the Comets (1-0, 1-0) cashed in on numerous second-chance opportunities.

Frazer, a 6-foot-5 forward, scored eight of his points during BCLUW’s big run with a combination of shots in the paint and trips to the line. Teske pounced on the offensive glass and scored five of his buckets on putbacks alone.

“It was just too easy of buckets,” said East Marshall coach Cole Anderson. “Even though they won by (25) points, I bet 16 or 18 of those points were just because of putbacks. We just really have to put a body on somebody out of our zone.”

Trailing 32-16 at intermission, East Marshall (0-1, 0-1) pulled within 14 at the beginning of the final two quarters though the Mustangs could rarely find enough open looks to maintain a rally.

“We were just getting out on their shooters,” said Schlatter. “And if we weren’t in their face, we were using our length to at least contest the shots. That made it really difficult for them to feel comfortable shooting the ball.”

Freshman guard Dru Boliver paced East Marshall with 13 points and Ben Terrones added 10. The Mustang posts ran into foul trouble early as Zack Johnson fouled out with 37 seconds left in the third quarter and Nick Mommer picked up his fifth at the 6:32 mark of the fourth.

Terrones converted a 3-point play and added a trey to pull the home team within 49-35 with 5:40 to go, before the Comets rattled off six straight to put things away.

“We weren’t ready for their 3-2 zone by any means, I didn’t know they were coming out in that,” said Anderson. “Toward the second half we figured out we had to attack those gaps and set screens for people but the first half our kids were just taken aback. We’re used to running up and down the floor, but they weren’t ready for the slowdown game.”

East Marshall trailed 9-4 after the opening quarter and never scored more than 12 points in a frame.

The Comets face Clarksville on the road today and host Grundy Center Tuesday. The Mustangs travel to AGWSR Tuesday.