All season long, Twin Cedars has been battling to put together any kind of a win streak.
It may only be their second straight victory, but it’s the longest streak thus far for Alan Stewart’s squad.
The first consecutive victory for the Sabers was never in doubt on Tuesday. Runs of 11 straight points bookended a Cory Butz basket that doubled as Moravia’s first field goal as the Sabers ran away quickly with a 71-22 win over the Mohawks.
“That’s the first time we’ve put two wins together,” Stewart said. “We’ve had some tough losses this year. We’ve had three losses by three points or less.”
“We could be 10-4 right now, but we’re not. Now we’re one game above .500. I thought we played good team basketball.”
The Sabers established the tone early with picture-perfect passing that led to several high-percentage shots. Twin Cedars missed just six shots in the opening half and shot 70 percent (30-43) from the field, leading by double digits from the first three minutes on.
“We just executed the game plan,” junior Derek Springer said after scoring a game-high 15 points.
Springer could have had a bigger night, but happily gave way to allow several bench players to get plenty of time on the floor. Everything went right for the Sabers in the first half as Hunter Embray closed things out by drilling a halfcourt shot to set Twin Cedars to the half with a 51-12 lead.
“That’s probably the best we’ve worked together all season,” Springer said. “No one was selfish. No one wanted to do it all themselves. Everyone wanted to distribute the basketball. It’s fun basketball to play when it goes like that.”
Moravia, a team with nine underclassmen on their 11-man varsity roster, tried as best they could to keep up with the Sabers. The Mohawks hit just six first-half field goals, shot just 17 percent for the game and committed 29 turnovers that led the Sabers on several fastbreaks.
“Our defense creates our offense,” Stewart said after Twin Cedars came up with 20 steals in the victory. “We’ve been working on that all year and it really came through for us.”
The play of the Sabers gave Moravia head coach Bryan Bickell a reason to smile. Twin Cedars is just two years removed from struggling themselves two years ago with a team that, like the Mohawks current squad, was made up of several freshmen and sophomores.
“Twin Cedars was in the same situation we’re in now. They were in that same boat and I’ve seen them steadily grow,” Bickell said. “It gives me a lot of hope for our future and belief that we were in Twin Cedars position not too long ago and we’ll be in the position Twin Cedars is in now not too far down the road.”
Butz, one of five Mohawk freshmen, led Moravia with eight points in the contest while fellow Mohawk freshman Caleb Windschitl added six. The second half breezed by as the 35-point rule established a running clock throughout the final 16 minutes.
But despite trailing by as many as 49 points in the second half, Bickell never stopped coaching his team. The Mohawk head coach is hoping his players will follow that example.
“That really helps our kids to know I’m not giving up on them. I’m not giving in,” Bickell said. “They go hard at it all the time day in and day out from practice to the games.”
“The scoreboard doesn’t mean everything. We’re teaching these guys more then basketball at this level. You’re not just coaching basketball, you’re coaching life.”
Twin Cedars (8-7, 3-4) will face a tough test to extend their only winning streak of the season to three straight as the Sabers head to Ankeny Christian on Saturday afternoon. Moravia (2-10, 1-5) is back on the floor Friday at home against Diagonal.
Twin Cedars 71, Moravia 22
T.C. 26 25 12 8 — 71
Mor. 6 6 4 6 — 22
Twin Cedars (71) — Derek Springer 15, Coy Moore 12, Otis Roby 12, Eric Clark 9, Hunter Embray 8, Dylan Springer 7, Alex Stanhope 6, Spencer McCarty 2. Totals 30-43 8-18 71.
3-point goals — 3-4 (Moore 2-2, Embray 1-2). Rebounds — 34 (Trenton Bacus 5, Embray 5, De. Springer 5, Dy. Springer 5, Clark 4, Roby 4, Stanhope 3, McCary, Moore, David Williams). Assists — 22 (Embray 11, Roby 3, De. Springer 3, Williams 3, Clark 2). Steals — 20 (Embray 7, Clark 6, De. Springer 2, Stanhope 2, Moore, Roby, Williams). Blocks — 11 (Bacus 2, Clark 2, Embray 2, De. Springer 2, Dy. Springer 2, Williams). Total fouls — 7. Turnovers — 23.
Moravia (22) — Cody Butz 8, Caleb Windschitl 6, Sam Clouse 2, Jonathan Johnson 2, William Johnson 2, Avery Waybill 2. Totals 11-65 0-2 22.
3-point goals — 0-8 (Clouse 0-1, Eastlick 0-1, Waybill 0-1, Windschitl 0-1, Tristan Cormeny 0-2, J. Johnson 0-2). Rebounds — 39 (Windschitl 8, Eastlick 6, J. Johnson 6, Waybill 6, Butz 5, W. Johnson 5, Clouse 2, Trevor Cormeny). Assists — 5 (Windschitl 2, Tre. Cormeny, Eastlick, Waybill). Steals — 13 (Waybill 4, Butz 2, Clouse 2, Tri. Cormeny 2, J. Johnson 2, Eastlick). Blocks — 1 (Waybill). Total fouls — 11. Turnovers — 29.