Basketball: Ram boys win fourth straight, fend off pesky Nevada
By BRANDON HURLEY
A gritty comeback fueled the Greene County boys’ basketball team to their fourth straight win Tuesday, Dec. 19, a 60-55 road triumph at Nevada.
Trailing by nine after one quarter, the Rams strung together stingy defense coupled with advantageous offense improving to 6-1 on the year.
A defensively stout third quarter helped pull the Rams ahead entering the fourth, up 44-42 but one final round of resiliency would ultimately allow Greene County to prevail.
“I was very pleased with the way our kids did not get rattled by Nevada’s play in the first half and answered very well in the third quarter,” Greene County head coach Chris Nelson said. “I thought we were much more aggressive on both ends and attacked the paint well in the second half. Defensively, we mixed it up again and I think we hustled much better as well.”
The Rams fell back down by five in the fourth quarter, but a locked-in defense allowed the Rams to make another comeback and secure the victory. Greene County held the Cubs to a single point over the final five minutes, closing out the triumph on an 11-1 run.
“Our kids believed in each other when we were down five and made a great run to end the game,” Nelson said, who was thrilled with the defensive showing when his shooters didn’t have it.
The ability to close out victories has been a key calling card through the first half of the year.
“(It) shows our kids are figuring it out on the defensive end,” Nelson said. “That was a struggle for us last year in finishing some games and to see our kids play together and learn from last year to finish tonight was outstanding.”
Greene County’s Trey Hinote poured in a season-high 28 points while dishing out six assists to pace the Rams. Senior forward Wade Adcock chipped in yet another double-double, tallying 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting while hauling in 13 boards, six on the offensive end.
After stumbling to a 10-point loss to PCM at home Dec. 7, the Rams have rattled off four straight victories, despite getting inconsistent offensive production.
The Rams struggled with their touch beyond the arc Tuesday, knocking down just three-of-19 attempts (15.7 percent), dropping their season shooting percentage to 29.3 percent from distance.
Greene County has stopped relying on offense to win every game, and that’s something coach Nelson said his guys can hang their hats on.
“I think our understanding of what it takes to win, to play and do the little things consistently throughout four quarters, and playing together are the keys to this little four-game run,” the coach said. “Our kids believe in each other and are playing confidently.”
The win keeps Greene County within striking distance in the Heart of Iowa Conference, sitting at 5-1 in conference play, one-and-a-half games back of No. 6 South Hamilton (9-0, 6-0).
Hinote is tied for the league lead in scoring at 17 points per game aided by a conference-best 16 made threes.
Adcock is averaging a double-double while leading the league in rebounding and shooting percentage (13.4ppg, 11.1 rpg, 59.1 percent), securing double digit rebounds in all seven games this winter.
The Rams continue their brutal final week before the holiday back, a string of four games in five days, with a road contest against Boone tonight and a showdown with rival Perry Friday, Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Jefferson.
The key to finishing out the week is remaining confident and trusting what works, Nelson said.
“Guys are playing their roles well and picking each other up when one has an off night,” the coach said. “We know we have a nice team but also know we still have plenty to work on. We are going in the right direction.”
Nevada girls secure 43rd straight HOIC win, send Rams packing
The shooting woes continued for the visiting Greene County girls’ basketball team as nine first half points, including just two points in the second quarter, spelled doom and the seventh-ranked Nevada Cubs continued a conference win-streak which dates back to 2015.
Nevada (8-1), secured its 43rd straight HOIC victory, last suffering a loss in January of 2015 with a defensively stout 45-21 triumph over the Rams. The three-time defending conference champions only loss this year was a 51-49 buzzer-beating defeat to ninth-ranked Boone in the opener.
Greene County (3-6) fell behind 30-9 in the first half and scored a mere three points in the third quarter to wrap up their fifth straight loss. The Rams connected on just seven shot attempts (seven-for-29) while attempting only a trio of three-pointers. Not one Greene County athlete reached double figures in scoring, led by Bailey Cunningham’s nine points. The Cubs swiped 15 steals and out-rebounded the Rams by 10 (33-23), led by Lexy Koudelka’s double-double (21pts, 13 rebs, five blocks).
After starting the year 3-2, the Rams ran into a buzz saw and are in the midst of a five game stretch that includes four ranked teams.
They travel to Boone (7-1) tonight, the final game before the holiday break. The Toreadors (4A) qualified for state a year ago and have made 39 threes this year.