Comets get even with Go-Hawks
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — Maybe it’s the sign of the times in regards to basketball, but during the pregame warmups prior to their Northeast Iowa Conference boys basketball game against Charles City on Friday, the Waverly-Shell Rock Go-Hawks devoted more time to a 3-point shooting drill than a typical layup drill.
The last time WSR faced the Comets, its well-tuned long-range attack resulted in a big early lead on way to winning 71-61 in Waverly.
But at Comet Gym, the hosts were relentless along the perimeter amidst their best defensive effort of the season as the Go-Hawks struggled from the floor — especially in the third quarter where they were limited to only 2 points — as the Comets evened the regular-season series with a 55-49 victory.
The effort evened Charles City’s NEIC record at 3-3 while improving its overall record to 7-5. It was the fourth-straight win for the Comets, who halted a five-game losing streak to Go-Hawks dating back to the 2019-20 season.
Charles City was led by junior Chase Low, who scored a team-high 23 points, pulled down seven rebounds, and blocked three shots. Low’s spin-move finish in the paint and coast-to-coast trek for another layup after seizing a defensive rebound on consecutive possessions put the Comets up 36-27 with a minute remaining in the third quarter.
After holding the Go-Hawks’ leading scorer this season — Keaton Farmer — to only 2 points in the first half (Farmer was sidelined for the entire second half), WSR sophomore Cole Marsh picked up the slack while helping pull the Go-Hawks to within two possessions late in the game.
When Farmer retrieved an offensive rebound after a Go-Hawk missed free throw, it looked as if he was going to get his team within one possession with less than a minute remaining in regulation. But Jeb Wandro blocked Farmer’s shot in the paint, and when Jose Hernandez seized the loose ball, he was immediately fouled in the backcourt resulting in two technical-foul free throws — which Hernandez made — and two more FTs due to the Comets being in the bonus — which Hernandez split giving the Comets a 54-46 lead with 18.1 seconds left.
Hernandez had 15 points and dished out five assists. Jack Hanson scored 12 for Charles City.
“Our kids did a great job of executing down the stretch to seal the victory,” Charles City head coach Ben Klapperich said. “We have to build on this victory and keep improving on both ends of the floor.
“Our focus is on putting together a full 32 minutes of basketball.”
Marsh scored a game-high 25 points for the Go-Hawks (9-5, 5-2).
* In the first game of non-conference varsity doubleheader action on Monday, Comet senior Ava Ellis scored a career-high 22 points including five 3-pointers in a girls game loss (60-32) to hosting Osage. Charles City’s girls fell to 0-12.
Earlier, Charles City’s junior varsity girls team won its second game of the season.
In the varsity nightcap, the Comet boys won their fifth in a row with a 70-55 victory over the Green Devils.
Jose Hernandez had 19 points and Chase Low added 16 to pace the scorers for Charles City (8-5).
“Our kids did a great job of sticking to the game plan and executing after getting off to a slow start,” Comet boys head coach Ben Klapperich said after the win against Osage. “We amped up the pressure late in the second quarter and into the third to extend the lead.
“Our defensive rotations have been much tighter since Christmas break which has lead to more wins. I’m very proud of our student athletes for buying in on both ends of the floor.”
CHARLES CITY 55,
WAVERLY-SHELL ROCK 49
Scoring By Quarters
WAVERLY-SHELL ROCK 11 14 2 22 — 49
CHARLES CITY 13 10 13 19 — 55
WAVERLY-SHELL ROCK — Keaton Farmer 2, Cole Marsh 25, Jordan Kruse 8, Luis Portillo 3, Cole Hotz 9.
CHARLES CITY — Jack Hanson 12, Jose Hernandez 15, Chase Low 23, Jeb Wandro 3, Drew Martin 2.
RECORDS — Charles City 8-5 (3-3 Northeast Iowa Conference); Waverly-Shell Rock 9-5 (5-2).