Pohren goes for 16 in Shootout win over L-M at CLHS
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DONNELLSON – A huge monkey climbed off the backs of the Central Lee boys basketball team Saturday night.
The Hawks got their first win of the year in a tight 44-42 win over Louisa-Muscatine, behind a 16-point effort from junior Corbin Pohren.
Freshman Brayden Wyrick, the team’s top scorer was in double figures with 10 points.
Things seemed to be migrating the way the rest of the year has gone when the Falcons put up five points in the final minutes of the first half to take a 22-14 lead into locker room.
Central Lee put up just five first quarter points, but the defense was able to hold L-M to just seven to stay in the game. L-M went on a 15-9 second quarter run to create some space, but it was the third quarter that separated the two squads.
Pohren came alive with a couple 3-balls and two other buckets from the field for 10 points to spur a 15-10 run that closed the gap to just three at 32-29 going into the final eight minutes.
L-M made some adjustments to slow down Pohren around the perimeter and off the dribble, which opened up the interior and allowed Wyrick, who had only one point through the first three periods after early foul trouble, to get going.
Wyrick would score four times from the field and connect on a free throw for nine points down the stretch. Alex Sandoval also converted his only 3-pointer of the night with less than a minute left to help secure the win.
Central Lee trailed the whole fourth quarter, but cut the lead to just one at 40-39 with two minutes left. L-M would score its final five points at the free throw line, but Central Lee would get Sandoval’s 3-pointer to take the lead at 43-40. A free throw would seal the deal.
Bryce Finney and Cory Jones each had eight rebounds in the win. Pohren had eight steals.
“We’ve been working all season for this and our guys reaped the reward of their dedication to daily improvement. We couldn’t hit a shot in the first half it seemed, and we got into heavy foul trouble,” said Head Coach Kritter Hayes.
“This team has not run away and has only gotten better from our failures. That makes for a proud coach.”
Hayes said the team faced adversity even late in the game and after 19 straight losses found a way to get it done.
“We fell down 9 or 10 points at one time in the 3rd quarter. I told them we couldn’t get it back in one possession. We just kept chipping away and chipping away. It was fun to see our players, parents, fans, and student section smile after a great night of basketball. They deserved a great finish.”
Central Lee’s junior varsity won the first contest 46-29.
Central Lee is just one game from climbing out of the cellar in the SEI Superconference as Van Buren sits 2-12 and has lost their last two. Central Lee is 1-15 and takes on Cardinal (13-7) on Tuesday before Class 2A Substate 6-District 12 actions starts on Monday, Feb. 14 in an 8 p.m. against West Burlington in West Burlington.
The winner will advance to face Cardinal, who got a first round bye, at Cardinal at 7 p.m. Feb. 17.