Number 2-ranked Tigers roll past Rockets

by Matt Kraus
Review Correspondent

JACK BALDWIN of Howards Grove (right) tries to dribble past an unidentified Cedar Grove defender in Thursday’s BEC basketball game. – Review photo by Greg CeilleyJACK BALDWIN of Howards Grove (right) tries to dribble past an unidentified Cedar Grove defender in Thursday’s BEC basketball game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley
HOWARDS GROVE – Total domination is the only way to describe the Howards Grove Tigers’ home victory over the Cedar Grove-Belgium Rockets in Big East boys basketball play on Thursday night.

The Tigers opened the game with a 26-0 lead before the Rockets’ Brent Mentink scored on layup, with 6:14 remaining in the first half following his own steal from the Tigers.

“I thought we came out with a lot of energy on both ends of the floor. To have a start like we did really takes a toll on the opponent, physically and mentally,” said Tigers’ head coach Wade Georgeff.

The Tigers, ranked No. 2 in the Division 4 Coaches Poll, lead the Big East Conference with an 8-0 record (12-0 overall). The Rockets fell to 3-5 (4-7 overall).

HG’s performance was a team effort with 11 players scoring and grabbing rebounds, led by Eric Reinemann’s 16 points and Jack Baldwin’s nine rebounds.

Baldwin dished out nine of the team’s 22 assists and Will Rautmann picked up six steals to lead the team.

“Jack’s play continues to progress and he is playing with a ton of confidence. Its been fun and exciting to watch him grow as a player and young man,” said Georgeff.

“He has played at such a high level since midway last year. He can defend, he can get to the hoop, and he can knock down the open shot. I’m glad he is on my team and I don’t have to go against him.”

Winning the opening tip, the Tigers were patient working the ball inside and out, and around the perimeter against the Rockets 2-3 zone.

After working 51 seconds off of the clock, Derek Stauss grabbed an offensive rebound and drew a foul as a took the ball to the hoop.

Although he missed two free throws, the Tigers’ size advantage was evident when Isaac Dirker was able to reach over a defender and tip the ball to himself for an offensive rebound.

Gavin Winter responded with a three-point basket and a 3-0 Tigers lead. The next three possessions of game action was a display of what the Tigers did for the entire game.

Reinemann grabbed an offensive rebound and scored in the lane, Stauss received a pass inside and scored with a strong move to the hoop and Stauss grabbed a defensive rebound and pushed the ball up the court, finding Reinemann on a cut to the hoop, finishing with a layup.

Even with a large lead the Tigers never relaxed. Following a layup by Michael Navis with nine seconds remaining in the first half, Rautmann drove the length of court to score on a layup at the buzzer. The Tigers took a 32-5 lead to the locker room.

"We talk about playing complete games no matter who we are playing or what the outcome may be," said Georgeff.

“Doing all the things we work on in practice right all the time is a big part of our program. We don't want to pick up any bad habits and the only way to not do that is to keep doing things right," said Georgeff.

“Blake Pedrin is really starting to come on for us and had another nice game. The way he is playing defense and shooting the ball is making it pretty hard to take him off the floor," said Georgeff.

“Our outside shooting opens things up inside. Blake and Isaac Dirker have been able to recognize the open man and get the ball inside.”

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