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Kody Hoeger drives baseline past Carson Fuegen, of Easton Valley.

Maquoketa Valley’s boys’ basketball team picked up a solid road win, at Central Elkader, Dec. 6, using a strong second-half defensive performance to take a 46-26 win.

“I was very pleased with the way our guys came out and played tonight. We knew we were going to see a zone from Elkader and I thought our guys did a good job of being patient in the half-court and moving the ball around to get good looks,” said coach Eric Conner. “We have said we want to be an inside-out team for a number of years, and this team is doing a good job of looking to get the ball inside knowing we can relocate and pass the ball back out if it isn’t open inside.

“That allowed us to build a nine-point lead early, but Elkader cut our early lead to three points before halftime. I thought our guys showed good poise when this was happening and were able to settle in and build the lead back to seven going into halftime. We did a good job of executing some defensive adjustments we made at halftime and allowed only eight second-half points, which I was very pleased with. We look to continue to build off some of the positives we have seen from our guys during the rest of this week and hopefully can have another winning week.”

Maquoketa Valley’s leaders against Central Elkader were: scoring — Avery Holtz 12, Brock Trenkamp 11, Landen Deutmeyer and Kody Hoeger eight, Lance McShane three, Brock Daack and Toby Grimm two; rebounds — Trenkamp 14, Treyton Cook six, Deutmeyer and McShane five, Grimm and Hoeger two, Holtz one; assists — Holtz seven, Cook and Trenkamp one; steals — Holtz five, McShane four, Cook two, Trenkamp one.

Class 1A’s No. 5 Easton Valley controlled its matchup with the Wildcats, in Delhi, Dec. 7, limiting MV to only nine first-half points in a 62-30 win to stay unbeaten on the season, handing the Wildcats their first loss.

“I knew coming into the game that Easton Valley was going to be a different matchup than we have seen so far this season. They are a veteran team that has good shooters and a nice big man inside,” said Conner. “We talked in-depth about needing to dictate the pace of the game and value the basketball.”

The Wildcats competed and were in the game early.

“I was pretty pleased with how our guys came out and played in the first quarter. We settled in and got some good looks by moving the ball around and only trailed by two at the end of the first quarter,” Conner explained. “We struggled quite a bit on offense in the second quarter, only scoring two points. Easton Valley didn’t change anything, so I was a little disappointed in our tentativeness. We made some halftime adjustments but EV came out and shot it well and pulled away.

“Our guys didn’t give up and continued to play hard and worked to improve the whole game. There are a lot of things that we can take away from this game to improve upon. I think our guys are eager to get to practice and continue to improve.”

MV hit 12-of-38 (31.6%) from the floor and 3-of-5 free throws (60%).

The Wildcat’s statistical leaders against Easton Valley were: scoring — Holtz 12, Cook six, Grimm and Trenkamp four, Deutmeyer and McShane two; rebounds — McShane five, Cook four, Deutmeyer, Holtz and Trenkamp two, Grimm, Holtz and Noah DeVore one; assists — Holtz and Trenkamp two, Grimm, Deutmeyer, McShane and Hoeger one; steals — Deutmeyer, Holtz, Trenkamp and McShane and Hoeger one.

An athletic Lisbon team jumped all over the Wildcats, in Delhi, Dec. 11, racing to a 15-6 first-quarter lead and extending that to 32-12 at halftime. It was 48-22 after three quarters as the Lions posted a 59-37 win.

“We were looking to bounce back from our loss to Easton Valley,” said Conner. “We got three practices in and really felt good about where we were, heading into the game.

“To start the game, we handled their pressure well enough to get some good looks in the half-court. We didn’t play our best offensively or defensively in the first quarter, so I was looking for our guys to be better the rest of the game, but Lisbon came out firing and really shot the ball well in the second quarter.”

Conner’s young team is experiencing some early season growing pains.

“With our inexperience, we have some guys who are struggling and thinking too much instead of just playing the game and letting it come to them, which comes from learning the game,” explained Conner. “We fell short of our goal this week of having a winning week, but as I told the players in the locker room after the game, our greatest growth individually and as a team comes from things we learn when we lose. We need to remember these things and continue to improve on them in practice and we will be using them to compete in games later in the year.”

The Wildcats hit 12-of-45 field goals (28.9%) and 11-of-19 free throws.

Maquoketa Valley’s leaders against Lisbon were: scoring — Holtz 13, Hoeger eight, Trenkamp and DeVore four, Lucas Orcutt and Cook three, Daack two; rebounds — Hoeger five, Holtz and Trenkamp four, Deutmeyer three, Orcutt, McShane and DeVore two, Cook and Daack one; assists — Holtz two, Deutmeyer and Trenkamp one; steals — Grimm, Cook, McShane and Hoeger one.