Tigers terrorize South Tama for NICL West win

ELDORA – Putting together a highlight reel of jumpers, layups and quick passes, South Hardin’s offense resembled a fast-break clinic through much of the first half.

Playing a feature role in the attack with a bevy of acrobatic shots, no-look passes and tenacious defense, Eric Mulder was the wheelman behind it all as the South Hardin boys’ basketball team used a 31-5 blitz in the first half to put away South Tama County early in an 80-58 rout in Thursday’s NICL West Division showdown.

Mulder flirted with a triple-double tallying 15 points, 12 assists and eight steals as South Hardin (7-9, 7-5) claimed its fifth win in seven games. Glendon Mesch led the Tigers inside with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while David and Sam Shindelar scored 16 apiece.

“Eric did a really good job of giving the ball up for better looks, finding the players in transition and pushing the ball – that’s what got us off to that big start,” South Hardin coach Adam Weig said.

South Hardin led 14-10 before Mulder scored six straight to spark the Tigers to a 25-11 lead after the first. South Hardin continued to pull away in the second by forcing numerous turnovers to trigger the fast break, while also cashing in on second-chance opportunities inside.

“(South Tama) has two pretty good big guys in the middle and our bigs did a very good job of taking care of them and keeping them 7 to 10 feet out and really boxing them out,” Weig said. “We’ve been shooting the ball better and our bigs are doing a better job of rebounding and getting putbacks.”

Mesch scored back-to-back buckets inside to push the lead to 24 and Sam Shindelar punctuated the run with a 3-pointer to set the score at 46-15 with 2:45 to go in the second quarter. South Hardin led 50-24 at the half and never saw its lead dip below 20 as nine different Tigers got in the scoring column.

“They’ve got some really good shooters that aren’t afraid to shoot with a hand in their face,” South Tama coach Nate Doran said. “We kind of lacked on the defensive end. We let them get open in transition and they were getting quick scores. That took us out of our game and played into their hands because we had to speed up our game and weren’t able to slow it down.”

Darius Lasley canned four 3-pointers for a game-high 19 points to pace STC (4-12, 3-8), while Clayton Rosenberger added 12 and Drake Cherveny had 9.

South Tama had won three of its last four coming into Thursday’s contest.

“Our boxing out wasn’t there tonight and they were finding the rim,” Doran said. “They felt really comfortable under there and we looked like newbies down there. We’ve got a ways to go, we’ve been on a bit of an upswing but we had a little downfall tonight.”

South Hardin begins a three-game road swing today with AGWSR, Wapsie Valley on Saturday and South Tama on Monday, before hosting Jesup on Tuesday. The Trojans head to BCLUW today before hosting the Comets on Tuesday.