It took a quarter to get going, but the Mark Isfeld Ice got back to their winning ways, Tuesday night.
After what coach Tom Elwood described as an Ice-cold showing at the Brentwood College Countdown to Playoffs Senior Boys Basketball Tournament over the weekend, the Ice hosted the Timberline Wolves in league play to end the month of January.
A sluggish start paved the way to a 9-5 Ice lead after the first quarter, and the Wolves closed the gap to two points with the first basket of the second quarter.
Then the Ice offence kicked in. Or, as Elwood described it, the defence took over.
A 17-0 run in the next seven minutes gave the Ice a lead they would never relinquish.
“I call it going on defensive runs,” said Elwood. “When you hold a team to no points for seven or eight minutes, it’s demoralizing. And for us, that’s terrific, because we feed off of that.”
The second quarter of Tuesday night’s game was a feeding frenzy.
After the Wolves broke up the run with two points, the Ice posted another six, for a 32-9 halftime lead.
They outscored their guests 26-12 in the third quarter, for a 58-21 lead after 30 minutes, and stretched the lead to 40 points (65-25) before trading baskets for the final six minutes, en route to a 73-34 victory.
Decisive, but still plenty to work on, from the coach’s perspective.
“Our trouble lately is that we are not shooting very well, and we think that energy comes from making shots, but it doesn’t,” Elwood said. “Energy comes from how you play defensively and how we guard people. That has to be the basis and the foundation of how we play. When we are good defensively, like we were in the second quarter, then the offence flows from the defence.”
Eleven of the 13 Ice players hit the scoresheet, led by Brett Woods and Jordan Messana, who had 12 points apiece. Mahara Mtwali had 11, as did Logan Benninger, who hit three three-pointers.
Rebound from Brentwood
Elwood said it wasn’t all bad at the weekend tournament.
“The only disappointing thing about the weekend is that we didn’t shoot the ball well,” he said, of the team’s 1-2 record.
The Ice opened the tourney with a 48-35 victory over Mount Doug, in a game that was closer at full-time than it was at the half. The Ice held a 34-10 lead over the Rams at the break.
The scoring issues that arose in the second half against Mount Doug continued to plague the Ice the rest of the tournament.
In the quarter-finals they held high-flying Brentwood to 50 points but could only produce 32 themselves.
On Saturday the Ice played Lambrick for the second time this year and came out on the short end of a 71-52 score.
“When you’re not shooting the ball well, you’d better be better defensively,” said Elwood. “If we’re only going to score in the 40s, we’d better defend, so that they don’t get 50.”
The Ice were scheduled to play Brooks Wednesday night, but that game was cancelled Tuesday, so Isfeld will wrap up regular season play next Tuesday in Campbell River, against the Carihi Tyees. The winner of that game will win the north zone, heading into the playoffs, the following weekend.
Girls win tight one
Earlier in the evening, the Ice senior girls beat the Ballenas Whalers 68-58, in a game that was close until the fourth quarter. The Ice outscored the Whalers 14-4 in the final 10 minutes for the win in the back-and-forth affair.
The Ice led 10-8 after a quarter, and 21-17 at the half, but the Whalers fought back in a high-scoring third quarter to take a 39-37 lead after 30 minutes.
Destanie Williams led the way for the Ice, with 16 points, including a pair of threes. Camryn Curts (15), Olivia Sellentin (11), and Grace Patterson (10) also hit double digits in the game, which saw every Ice player score.
Makayla Hoey netted 21 points for the Whalers.