By ALEX AGUEROS
(CONCORDIA, Mo., digitalBURG) – Coming off a forgettable loss to Knob Noster Monday, Concordia leaned on the midrange game of junior guard Cass Heimsoth to lift the Orioles to a 55-42 victory over the Crest Ridge Cougars Tuesday.
“Unlike last night, we hit our shots,” said Concordia coach Eric Hon.
Possession after possession, Heimsoth dribbled to a comfortable spot in the paint and simply shot over his defender for an easy two. The Orioles’ overall height advantage also boosted offensive production for guard Cory Meineka and forward Jesse Schnakenberg.
Hon credits the Orioles’ defensive effort for the win, frustrating the Cougars’ post threats Jake Brookshier and Hayden Stringer throughout the game.
“We (played) real good defense today,” Hon said. “We didn’t transition well at the beginning but got better as the game went on.”
Concordia nearly let Crest Ridge back into the game, compiling seven fouls in just the third quarter, but the Cougars failed to capitalize as their dismal shooting followed them to the line. At one point in the second half, the Cougars were 1 for 12 in free-throw attempts.
The second half also saw the Cougars dedicate one player to relentlessly faceguard Heimsoth. While the tactic succeeded in slowing down the guard’s scoring, the Cougars often over-rotated on defense, which left a weak-side layup wide open. This acted as a steady stream of offense for the Orioles to which the Cougars had no answers.
“We ran the same offense we usually do. We just put him in a different spot,” Hon said. “We tried to get him isolated on the block where there may be a mismatch.”
At halftime, the score was 31-16, Orioles. Concordia’s lead would hover around 20 points all game until the final minute, when some desperation threes started falling in the Cougars favor. Crest Ridge also ran an effective full-court press in the final minutes, something Hon expected to see earlier in the game.
“In all the film I’ve watched of them, they start out in a full-court press. They didn’t do that today,” Hon said. “That was a surprise, but it was a fairly easy adjustment to make.”