Des Moines (Iowa): North scores 25 of game's first 28 points Thursday night
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
TRENTON — It has been quite a while since a Chillicothe High School Hornets varsity basketball team has absorbed a beatdown like it took from the Des Moines, Iowa: North Polar Bears last Thursday night.
Tim Cool, CHS head coach, shared the recommendation he had for his squad after the Hornets bowed to the tall, fast, talented Iowa team 70-30 at the North Central Missouri College Foundation’s 2016 “High School Holiday Hoops” event.
“We need to put this one in our rearview mirror as fast as we can and enjoy a couple of days off and then get ready for the Bishop LeBlond tournament,” said Cool after his team lost a second-consecutive time and dipped to 5-3 on the 2016-17 season.
That tournament at St. Joseph will roll around for the Hornets tomorrow, beginning with a rare morning game – an 11:30 a.m. tipoff for the second-seeded CHS boys against East Buchanan.
“One of our goals (each season) is to win a couple of tournaments and this is an opportunity,” the Chillicothe coach, who hasn’t had any of his Hornets reach that particular goal in his first five years at the helm, notes.
If the Hornets can regain the form they had before last week, they have a very good shot at checking “win tourney title” off their “to-do” list. If they perform anything like they did against Des Moines: North, their wait will continue.
Thursday at the Ketcham Community Center on the Trenton campus of NCMC, Chillicothe yielded the game’s first 10 points – even though it took the Polar Bears nearly 21⁄2 minutes to get their second field goal.
It took CHS more than twice that long, though – one tick under five minutes, to be exact – before it got the ball through the ring.
When it finally did on senior forward Ben Jones’ 5-footer, it proved to be only a minor blip on the radar, though, as North answered with another string of unan-swered tallies. With 1:10 remaining in the opening period, Chillicothe was star-ing straight at a 19-2 deficit. It ended the opening period down by exactly 20 points – 23-3.
“I thought we were a little overwhelmed at first,” understated Cool, whose club finished with 23 turnovers and only 24 percent shooting success, including a 2-of-12 night from 3-points land.
“We did not adjust to the speed of the game at all, ever,” the Chillicothe coach put a finer point on his assessment, “so that really hurt us.”
At halftime, Des Moines: North, victor over Chillicothe by only four points a year ago when they also met during “Holiday Hoops,” was on top 42-15.
The eventual final spread of 40 points was not as bad as it got. CHS got the game’s last basket after it had dropped 42 markers in arrears.
“I think we’re better” than that, Cool mused. “That’s not a very good showing.”
In fact, it was the widest margin of defeat for the Chillicothe boys since St. Joseph: Lafayette pummelled them by a 75-26 count at Savannah in the 2013-14 season opener.
Chillicothe had only a couple of fleeting stretches of success – a 9-5 spurt in the middle of the second quarter which still left it down 21 and which the Polar Bears answered with another 9-0 surge, and a 5-0 mini-run early in the second half. North responded to that one with 13 consecutive tallies to lead by 38 with still 90 seconds to go in the third frame.
Statistically, about the only meager bright spot for the Hornets was Jones’ 7-rebounds, 6-points night as the lightly-experienced, 6’4” senior continues to lift his game. He made three of the four shots from the floor he took, leaving the rest of the squad to be seven of 37.
Jones shared team scoring honors with Cade Snyder.
Des Moines: North (5-3) received 21 each from point guard Tyreke Locure and 6’7” Jal Bijiek.
Unofficially, CHS did out-rebound the Polar Bears 33-27, but its 23 turnovers were more than twice North’s total.