Hill’s career-day lifts Royals

Hill’s career-day lifts Royals

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Colo-NESCO junior Matthew Hill (22) scores over Riceville defender Ben Swancutt (20) in the first half for two of his career-high 29 points during Saturday’s 74-35 Iowa Star Conference win in Colo.

COLO — Role players or oft-used reserves for the last two seasons, Matthew Hill and Garret Tiarks find themselves at the forefront of the Colo-NESCO boys’ basketball team for the first time.

When they get going, so do the Royals.

Hill scored 16 of his career-high 29 points in the first half, Tiarks added nine of his 13 after the intermission and the Colo-NESCO boys’ basketball team rebounded from Friday night’s loss at Don Bosco with Saturday’s runaway victory against Iowa Star Conference foe Riceville, 74-35.

“Without a doubt, every game we’ve had so far it’s been a constant harping [by me] and they need to learn it’s on their shoulders to get things going this year,” said Royals head coach Pat Wynja. “We had a slow start last night, a slow start tonight and it’s because of those two, they need to come ready to play and get the team going.

“They both played two or three years with a group of kids that they had played with their whole lives so it’s going to be a work in progress, but these kids are ballplayers. We’ll be in good shape.”

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

Hill had nine-straight points and 14 of the Royals’ 19 in the first quarter, but Riceville (1-2, 1-2) hung tough and was tied with Colo-NESCO 11-all with less than two minutes left in the opening period. A 3-pointer from Philip Bower and the next five points from Hill helped propel the Royals (2-1, 2-1) to a 19-13 lead.

Colo-NESCO opened the second quarter on an 11-2 run, pounding the ball into the paint and powering down rebounds on the offensive glass. Another Bower triple helped spark the surge and Parker Eley’s trey completed it as the Royals cruised into halftime with a 37-21 lead.

Colo-NESCO came out of the break in a man-to-man defense that yielded a number of fast-break opportunities for its offense, and the Royals outscored Riceville 20-7 in the third quarter. Sean Cutler swished a 3-pointer, Hill converted a steal into a bucket and Tiarks dribbled coast-to-coast for a layup to key an 18-3 run. The same three players accounted for 18 of the 20 points, save for Jacob Clatt’s offensive rebound and putback just before the buzzer.

A 17-7 fourth-quarter advantage came along with a running clock as the Royals coasted to the conference triumph in search of their fourth-straight Iowa Star South Division title.

“We were just taking advantage of what we had, which was getting the ball inside and finishing,” Wynja said of the matchup with Riceville. “These kids have been waiting their turn, they’re ready for it. Last night [at Don Bosco] was the first big game for a lot of these kids and they learned a lot and I think it took a lot of energy out of them too. We were flat tonight … but we still have the same goal we always have — we want to win this conference and I think we can. We just have to keep getting better.”

Clatt contributed with 10 points while Bower had eight and Cutler seven.

Grant Shedenhelm had nearly half of Riceville’s points, posting 17 to lead the Wildcats.

Colo-NESCO is off until Friday, when it travels to Traer to face North Tama in league play.

Colo-NESCO 74, Riceville 35

RICEVILLE (1-2, 1-2) — Tylar Christensen 2 1-2 5, Grant Shedenhelm 4 7-9 17, Ben Swancutt 1 0-0 2, John Miller 2 0-0 5, Matthew Green 0 0-0 0, Cole Hale 3 0-1 6, Tyrese Simmons 0 0-0 0, Sullivan Fair 0 0-0 0, Derrick Dunn 0 0-0 0, Hunter Geerts 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 12 8-12 35.

COLO-NESCO (2-1, 2-1) — Philip Bower 3 0-0 8, Sean Cutler 3 0-0 7, Garret Tiarks 6 1-1 13, Matthew Hill 12 5-6 29, Bryce Niemeyer 0 0-0 0, Kelly Gray 1 0-0 2, Parker Eley 1 0-0 3, Jacob Clatt 5 0-0 10, Garrett Packer 0 0-0 0, Francis Bower 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 32 6-7 74.

RICEVILLE    13    8    7    7    —    35

COLO-NESCO    19    18    20    17    —    74

3-Point Goals–Riceville 3 (Shedenhelm 2, Miller), Colo-NESCO 4 (Bower 2, Eley, Cutler). Fouled out–none.