Tigers bounce back, keyed by hot shooting

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


CALEB HOLZMAN of Howards Grove focuses on defending Sheboygan Christian’s Brayden VanEss in Monday’s BEC basketball game. The Tigers’ Jack Baldwin looks on. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley CALEB HOLZMAN of Howards Grove focuses on defending Sheboygan Christian’s Brayden VanEss in Monday’s BEC basketball game. The Tigers’ Jack Baldwin looks on. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley HOWARDS GROVE – The Howards Grove Tigers shot a blistering 60 percent from the field to key a 75-64 boys basketball win over visiting Sheboygan Christian Monday night.

HG hiked its Big East Conference record to 3-1 (5-1 overall). The Tigers bounced back from a tough overtime loss (65-60) at Oostburg Thursday night. The Eagles slipped to 2-1 in the BEC (3-2 overall).

“We learned a lot from the overtime loss last week. We grew after that and that’s all that matters,” said Tiger head coach Wade Georgeff.

“It was important to bounce back and show everyone what kind of team we really are. We have a ton of character and it showed at practice and in this game.

“I thought we played exceptionally well for most of the game. We had a few lapses late with a couple turnovers and missed free throws but overall our hustle and defensive pressure made up for it,” said Georgeff.

The Tigers’ attack was powered by Bryce Pedrin and Eric Reinemann with 21 points each and Caleb Holzman with 19. Pedrin, a senior guard/ forward, exploded for 14 points in the first half to propel HG to a 39-32 halftime lead. Pedrin drained two of his three-pointers in the opening half.

Holzmann, a senior forward, and Reinemann, a junior forward, sparked the Tigers’ offense in the second half with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Also scoring in double figures for the game for HG was Derek Stauss with 11.

“Caleb Holzman played outstanding, probably the best I’ve ever seen him play,” said Georgeff.

“Eric Reinemann and Bryce Pedrin played exceptional as well. Bryce’s ability to knock down shots from the outside helps a ton but he has really stepped up his game by attacking. He is turning into an allaround weapon.

“I ask Eric to do a lot for this team and he always answers. He is a tough player who can defend anyone,” said the coach.

Georgeff thought rebounding, help-side defense and taking care off the ball were keys to the win. The Tigers committed only seven turnovers.

Reinemann led HG in rebounds with seven and Holzman had five. Holzman had a team-high six assists.

The Eagles jumped out to a 10-2 lead, keyed by Brayden VanEss who scored five points, including a trey. Alec Wisse also buried a triple during the run.

HG didn’t take its first lead until 6:50 left in the first half when Holzman’s short jumper made it 26-24. The basket was part of a 14-0 spurt by the Tigers which gave them a 33- 24 lead with 4:30 remaining in the half.

The Tigers’ defense played a key role in the run as it forced four turnovers. Pedrin’s five points, including a trey, led his team during the 14-0 stretch.

Pedrin scored the Tigers’ final eight points of the first half on two drives to the hoop and a pair of jump shots.

Will Balint’s three-ball pulled Christian to within 37-32. Pedrin’s jumper made it 39-32 at halftime.

Senior post player Luke Heinen had a big second half on offense for the Eagles but the Tigers were able to stay ahead. Heinen erupted for 17 of his game-high 24 points in the final half.

“Sheboygan Christian is a good team with a great coach [head coach Brett Flipse]. They have a lot of nice pieces on that team that make them serious contenders, not only in the Big East, but come tournament time,” said Georgeff.

“Heinen is a beast down low. He has a lot of things working in his favor – good size, athleticism, and a nice touch around the hoop. He and VanEss can really capitalize off each other.”

VanEss, a senior forward, scored 13 points – 10 in the first half.

JUNIOR VARSITY GAME

The Tigers’ JV 1 squad improved to 4-0 in the BEC (6-0 overall) with a 36-31 overtime win. Dylan Barutha led HG in scoring with 16 points.

“We were able to clamp down on defense in the overtime period to ultimately win this hard-fought game that could’ve gone either way,” said Tiger coach Bob Vandoske.


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