COLO - Royals coach Pat Wynja couldn't recall what his team did so well early to break open Saturday's game with East Marshall - he was too frustrated watching his defense to notice.
Though when Wynja's focus carried over to the offensive end, he saw once again why his team's balanced attack can provide plenty of frustration for opponents.
Receiving 17 points from Christian Reischauer and 16 by Tanner Clatt, the Royals boys' basketball team sprung past East Marshall early for a 58-41 non-conference victory.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Colo-NESCO senior Casy Angell (30) drives past East Marshall’s Austin Briney in first-half action at Colo Saturday. Angell chipped in seven points as the Royals used a pair of double-digit runs in the first half to pull away for a 58-41 win.
"I didn't really pay much attention," said Wynja of his team's early surge. "I was just watching our defense and I wasn't very happy with our defense tonight. We had a lot of breakdowns and they had a lot of open shots. We just got kind of lucky that they missed."
Whether it was rebounding those misses or forcing the issue with a few steals, the Royals (5-4) revved up their transition attack for 11 unanswered points in the first quarter and 12 in the second to create more than enough breathing room.
Colo-NESCO led 11-7 late in the opening frame before 3-pointers from Clatt, Garret Tiarks and Christian Montgomery highlighted a 12-0 flurry into the second period. The Royals scored five points on their last possession of the half when Reischauer drilled a 3 and Brady Stoeffler sank two free throws after a foul away from the ball to open a 35-16 buffer at the break.
Colo-NESCO 58, East Marshall 41
EAST MARSHALL (0-7) - Nate DeBondt 8 1-2 17, Ben Terrones 5 0-0 13, Austin Briney 1 0-0 2, Ryan Puumala 1 0-0 3, Zack Johnson 0 1-2 1, Nick Mommer 0 0-0 0, Dru Boliver 2 0-0 5. TOTALS 17 2-4 41.
COLO-NESCO (5-4) - Christian Montgomery 2 0-0 5, Cole Ozbun 2 0-0 4, Brady Stoeffler 1 2-3 4, Steven Cutler 0 0-0 0, Garret Tiarks 2 0-0 5, Tanner Clatt 7 0-0 16, Casy Angell 3 1-3 7, Christian Reischauer 7 0-0 17, Zach Jamison 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 24 3-6 58.
3-Point Goals - EM 5 (Terrones 3, Puumala, Boliver); C-N 7 (Reischauer 3, Clatt 2, Montgomery, Tiarks). Fouled out - Johnson.
"Offensively we shared the ball," said Wynja, whose squad has four players averaging nine points or more. "We still struggle defensively and rebounding but teams struggle defensively against us too because we have multiple options."
Casy Angell added seven points, while Tiarks and Montgomery each chipped in five.
"The guys set each other up and whoever gets the open shot is taking it," said Wynja. "When we're finding the open guy, we're a tough team to beat."
East Marshall (0-7) upped its intensity in the second half and trimmed the deficit to 45-33 with 50 seconds left in the third on back-to-back triples by Ryan Puumala and Ben Terrones. That was as close as the Mustangs got though as Reischauer answered with a trey of his own and the Royals kept their visitors at an arm's length the rest of the night.
Creating some points with its full-court press, East Marshall outscored the Royals 25-23 in the second half though Mustangs coach Cole Anderson needs that same effort through the entire game.
"It's mental mistakes coupled sometimes with a lack of effort," said Anderson. "The second half we really pushed what we want to do effort-wise and that's the type of team that I know I have, so hopefully I can get that for 32 minutes the rest of the year."
Nate DeBondt led East Marshall with 17 points and Terrones tacked on 13. Stuck in a 12-game slide dating back to last season, the Mustangs are looking to refine their mental approach so that making the right plays becomes second nature.
"Our kids need to shore up those mental lapses and think about what we're supposed to be doing," said Anderson. "We're not at a point where we just know and reactHopefully we can fix some of those (mistakes) and just make it instinct so that we don't have to think - they just do it. That's the difference between where we could be and where we are right now."
Colo-NESCO travels to play Northeast Hamilton Friday. East Marshall begins a three-game week at West Marshall Tuesday, before facing Gladbrook-Reinbeck on the road Friday and hosting Wapsie Valley Saturday.
The Royals were coming off a season-high scoring total in an 80-14 victory over Clarksville at home FridayColo-NESCO is awaiting a reversal of its 67-63 loss to Meskwaki Settlement on the road Dec. 17. The Royals filed an appeal to the Iowa High School Athletic Association after the Warriors used a player in seven quarters - more than the six allotted to a player in one night. Wynja said Meskwaki can still appeal the decision but doesn't expect them to, meaning the loss will change to a win when it's made official sometime next week.