BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
BURLINGTON – Central Lee Head Coach Evan Swanson says his team gets a C- right now.
But that’s trending down from a B+ he said the team would have earned in a stretch where they won four of six and were just three points from winning six in a row.
The Hawks dropped a 60-50 loss on the road to Burlington Notre Dame Tuesday night to go to 6-6 in the Southeast Iowa Superconference South and 6-10 overall.
“We’re 6-10 and I hate that, but unfortunately we have a lot of work to do,” Swanson said. We can be a dangerous team if we decide to be and that’s gonna be up to the boys.”
Central Lee started with a short lived 5-4 lead on Jaxon Betker’s bucket and 3-pointer, but the Hawks would go cold from field missing their next five attempts from the floor.
In the meantime, the Nikes hit five of their next seven, including six points from Sam Brueck, to pull a 12-6 lead. The Hawks wouldn’t close in on that until they went on an 8-3 run started by a Corbin Pohren 3-pointer from the right wing.
Dylan Stuecker hit bucket and a 3-pointer in consecutive possessions to cut the lead to five at 26-21. He would then answer with another deep three after a Nike free throw to make it 27-24.
Notre Dame’s Anthony Hoffman would score just before the buzzer after the Hawks had a possession to try and tie things up the half, but turned the ball over just pass the half court line.
Notre Dame would extend it’s lead to 11 at 35-24 on bucket by Josh Smith with 4:55 left in the third. Seth Mayes would score inside off a Bronson Sargent miss to cut the lead to seven at the end of third.
Sargent would score and get fouled on a big move in the post to open the fourth and get the Hawks’ fans back in the game. But he would miss the foul shot to make it 41-36 and Notre Dame (8-3, 11-4) would pull away for the win.
“This was not a pretty game for us,” Swanson said. “That’s a good program. The kids work hard all the time and that’s something we’re trying to develop.”
He said the Hawks are getting out played physically, which forces them to an outside game.
“The most frustrating thing as a coach is we can tell them and we can work on it in practice, but when it comes down to games and moments – its on them.”
Central Lee was led by Betker’s 15. Dylan Stuecker fired in 14, most from way downtown. Sargent had seven, Kaleb Sanders added six, while Derrick Denning and Pohren each had three. Seth Mayes finished with two on the night.
Notre Dame’s Matt Johnson led all scorers with 20. Josh Smith and Brady Oleson each had 10 on the night.
The Hawks host Holy Trinity Catholic in another Southeast Iowa Superconference South matchup Friday night in a girls/boys varsity doubleheader.