The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

February 21, 2014

Sharp-shooting Saunders lifts V.B. past Sigourney in boys district hoops

(Continued)

Sigourney head coach Mitch Eslick talked about the length of the Warriors, which created several easier shots on offense by forcing the Savages into several turnovers throughout the contest.

“(Van Buren) really overwhelmed us with their zone,” Eslick said. “We noticed how hard they push the ball, so we emphasized going in on making sure to get back defensively. When you don’t take care of the ball and they’ve got 3-on-1 breaks, it makes it hard to get back.”

The Savages were not only forced into 25 turnovers on the night, including 10 in the opening quarter, but allowed several of those mistakes to lead to high-percentage shots for Van Buren. Saunders was the catalyst, collecting four of the Warriors’ 14 steals while quarterbacking the offense on the hardwood with a game-best seven assists.

Of course, Saunders was more than willing to take the shot whenever the opportunity presented itself. By the end of the night, the senior had scored 21 points on 8-14 shooting from the field, including a sizzling 5-8 effort from beyond the 3-point arc.

“(Sigourney) was playing really well, but it was just one of those nights were everything we shot was going in,” Saunders said. “We were also getting open looks. Anytime you’re shooting well and you get open looks, the basket looks about the size of a trash can.”

Van Buren hardly ever led by less than 10 points after jumping out to a 15-2 advantage. As a team, the Warriors shot over 50 percent in the first half and finished the night with 21 assists as a team.

“We didn’t get the ball inside as much as I would have liked, but (Sigourney) was giving us the outside shot, to we took it and hit it. What more can you say,” Parsons said. “We played hard. Our defense was really good. We stayed in front of the ball for the most part.”

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