If there were any questions about the undefeated Elyria Christian School boys basketball team being legit, Tuesday's 62-40 rout of Little River should put those doubts at ease.
The Eagles, who have climbed to No. 2 in Class 1A Division II, outscored a good Redskin team 35-16 over the middle two quarters on Tuesday to key a 62-40 victory at the Eagle Dome. It was their fifth straight win to open the season.
Tyler Thiessen and Aidan Fields were a double-barreled attack for ECS with 27 and 20 points, respectively. Thiessen just missed a double-double with 9 rebounds.
"Offensively, we have some real weapons in Tyler Thiessen and Aidan Fields," ECS coach Zach Goodrich said. "I cannot express how unselfish these guys are for our team and how we have found balance on the offensive end. That balance leads to nights like tonight for Thiessen and Fields. It was pretty special to see them get going, Tyler played as strong as I have seen him play in my two years, finishing around the basket and shooting in rhythm. Aidan has found his stroke and it definitely opens up the floor for us. He is learning to pick his spots and that is something I hope continues as the season moves along."
Holding Little River to 40 points was another key.
" I felt defensively our rotations were solid, we did a good job of contesting the 3 and being in help on penetration," Goodrich said. "Jayden Garrison is a handful and I was proud of the team effort to try and slow him down. We still have room to grow on the defensive end and hopefully we can clean up those areas during practice over the Christmas break."
Garrison, the sensational freshman, scored 16 to lead Little River.
• Little River girls 36, Elyria Christian 26 — The Eagles rode an emotional wave in the first quarter, outscoring the Redskins 13-2.
But it was all Little River from there, outscoring the Eagles 26-8 during the middle two quarters.
“I thought we played very well except the first quarter,” Little River coach Trey Look said. “Give credit to Elyria, they came out ready to play more than we did. Riley Bruce and Mackinze Barta really stepped up tonight and gave us that spark that we were lacking in the second quarter and second half. Defense is what really got us going in the second half. Getting the stops we needed transitioned to us getting some easy buckets. We still turned the ball over way too much, but that is something we’ll work on over break.”
Little River had nice balance as Bruce led the way with 9, while Madison Loder, Emma McBride and Isabelle Eberle all scored 8.
“We definitely had some issues scoring the ball after the first quarter,” Elyria coach Greg Fields said. “I thought our defense was decent throughout the night, but we need to hit free throws and take advantage of opportunities under the basket. Little River does a nice job pressuring the ball and forcing us to feel rushed in our sets. Christin Vetter and Tili Burton both did a better job tonight getting in position to rebound.”
Bailey Unruh led Elyria with 10, while Vetter pulled down 12 rebounds.
• Sterling boys 76, Moundridge 60 — Moundridge coach Vance Unrau said last week that Sterling is the favorite to win the Heart of America League.
The Black Bears showed why on Tuesday.
They jumped out to a 39-25 lead and held off any Wildcat comeback bid to hand Moundridge only its second loss.
“We got down early playing a pace more to Sterling's liking,” Unrau said. “They are a big, athletic and deep team. They are everything that I thought they would be this year as they are picked to win the HOA. We had difficulty adjusting to the physicality of the game and had some untimely turnovers.”
Brady Helms, a sophomore, led Moundridge with 19 points, while Noah Eichelberger and Dillon Vogts chipped in with 16 and 13, respectively.
“Brady Helms did establish himself well in the paint at both ends of the floor as he continues to work hard to give us an inside presence,” Unrau said. “I will give our guys a lot of credit as we battled back several times to give us a chance. The Christmas break will give us an opportunity to work on more fundamentals and hopefully develop some more depth as our young guys gain confidence and we get some guys back healing up from injury.”
• Moundridge girls 46, Sterling 42 — The Wildcats held off the Black Bears in the fourth quarter after leading by nine after three periods.
Bethany Stucky scored 16 of her 19 points in the first half and then Kaela Helms scored 11 of her 17 in the second half.
• Inman boys 54, Ell-Saline 28 — Inman coach Brett Froese said his son, Payton, was “pretty good” against the Cardinals.
He was better than good.
Froese scored 34 points, dished out 8 assists and had 6 steals to lead the Teutons to the victory.
“The game was ugly the first half,” Froese said. “Had 24 fouls called. A lot of kids on the bench in foul trouble. I was really proud of the kids playing through it. We got another big night from Payton. Also got a good night from Ethan Stubbs, who played really well. They doubled (Mason) Thiessen in the post all night and he was in foul trouble. He still had 7 and 13 rebounds. Really proud of kids’ effort here last couple games, have played real gritty. We will use the time over Christmas to try and improve some things.”
• Inman girls 48, Ell-Saline 24 — The Teutons had another lockdown defensive game, holding the Cardinals to 12 points in each half.
Inman led 14-7 after a quarter and 22-12 at the half.
Nine Teutons marked in the scorebook, led by Olivia Clark with 14 points and Baylie Ediger with 10.
• Wakefield boys 58, Canton-Galva 36 — The Eagles played without floor general Jonah Sargent, out with an ankle injury.
Without their assist leader to run the offense, the Eagles struggled — especially at the start.
C-G was down 16-5 after a quarter and could never get back in it. Nick Pearson and Brayden Collins scored 11 points apiece to lead the Eagles. Chase Klinkerman, all of 5-5, hustled to 5 rebounds.
“Too many missed layups and free throws in the first quarter,” C-G coach Shane Duncan said. “We dug ourselves a hole that we couldn't get out of. We weren't able to fill the defensive effort that Jonah brings us every night. Brayden Collins, a freshman, played well offensively for us tonight. I was also pleased with the energy that Chase Klinkerman brought us in his first varsity game.”
• Canton-Galva girls 36, Wakefield 33 — A big fourth quarter propelled the Eagle girls to their third win of the year as they are now a game under .500.
Alexa Bell’s 6 points in the fourth quarter spurred the comeback as C-G outscored the Bombers 13-8 in the final period.
Tia Moddelmog scored 12 points and Bell added 10 for the Eagles.
• Smoky Valley boys 50, Haven 40 — After just 5 points in the first quarter, the Vikings strung together three straight quarters of 15 to rally for the win after being down early.
The Vikings turned up the defensive heat in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats 30-13.
Nick Reinert topped the Vikings with 14 points, Jacob Adams added 13 and Ben Weldy scored 11. Smoky Valley is still without sharpshooter Brett Heitschmidt, who has been out with a knee injury. He scored 29 points in the season opener.
• Haven girls 49, Smoky Valley 28 — After a closely contested first half, the Wildcats broke it open in the second half, sparked by a 14-2 third quarter.
The Vikings' scoring was balanced as three players scored 6 points each — Jordan Otto, Amanda Behanna and Bri Franklin.
• Note – Hesston was idle.