SHABBONA – A tournament title, a 4-0 week, an 0-3 week and an injury to a star player.
“It’s a real mental toughness challenge for the kids,” Indian Creek coach Nolan Govig said. “Obviously, we weren’t hoping to go 0-3 this week. I think this coming week we’re really going to see what we’re made of. Having as high of a week as we did, winning the tournament, then going 0-3 ... we’re going to see what we’re made of next week.”
The Timberwolves opened the year at the Ashton-Franklin Center tournament, winning four games, all by at least 15 points to capture the title.
But this week, the Timberwolves lost by nine at home to Aurora Central Catholic and by 19 at Earlville to open Little Ten Conference play Friday. The team’s leading scorer, Jeffrey Probst, was hurt diving for a loose ball against the Red Raiders (5-0) and missed Saturday’s game.
Probst should be back this week, Govig said. The Timberwolves host IMSA on Tuesday and Newark on Friday in a pair of Little 10 matchups before heading to Genoa-Kingston on Saturday.
Govig said Saturday’s loss to the Blue Streaks shows what has plagued IC this week – the inability to get into offensive sets.
The Blue Streaks (3-2) were hot out of the gate, trying out a press with great success. They built a 26-5 lead early in the second quarter and forced 11 first-half turnovers by the Timberwolves (4-3).
Woodstock led by as many as 41 in the game and the fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
Blue Streaks coach Ryan Starnes said he felt like his team could pressure the ball well against Indian Creek, and was impressed to see his team play a faster style so well.
“I think I’m seeing more and more that when guys do things the right way we can be [more up-tempo],” Starnes said. “I think that I’m learning as weeks go what we can and can’t do. Today showed we can do this.”
Starnes said the team is at its best when the scoring is balanced, as was the case Saturday. Four players had between 12 and 15 points. Max Beard and Keaton Perkins each had 15 with a couple of 3-pointers and Trent Butler had 12 points six rebounds and two steals.
Spencer Cullum had 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals. He also had a pair of first-quarter dunks, one of which was off his own steal, to set the tone early.
Indian Creek turned the ball over 18 times in the loss.
“I think we haven’t seen much of that style of play yet,” Govig said. “Obviously we weren’t ready for that. They were in our face, picking us up full court and it seemed like we weren’t even able to get into an offense.”
Everett Willis had a team-best six points and four rebounds. Payton Hueber had six points of the bench for Indian Creek.
At least three times in the game, the Timberwolves got past the Woodstock defense and had a look at an easy layup, only for it to bounce out. Goving said that’s just the way the offense went on Saturday.
“Their defense was great, but we had multiple opportunities within 15, 10 feet that we just weren’t finishing today,” Govig said. “It just is what it is.”