Comet boys win 1st game of season; Comet girls can’t catch fast-starting Chickasaws
By John Burbridge
NEW HAMPTON — Comet fans were waiting for a moment like this … they just had to hold on a little longer for it to come to fruition.
Late in the third quarter with Charles City nursing a 2-point lead during Tuesday’s back-and-forth Northeast Iowa Conference boys basketball game against New Hampton, Comet 6-foot-6 senior Bradley Andrews released after teammate Tait Arndt tracked down a loose ball during a Chickasaw possession.
The setting was primed for an emphatic throw-down by Andrews to perhaps ignite a finishing surge by the Comets. But the pass upcourt was a little long and Andrews had to use his leaping abilities to broad jump the endline to keep the ball in play.
Trailing the play, Marcus Cranshaw was able to secure Andrews’s save and quickly dished it back to him when he returned to the court. Andrews took the pass and slammed it home while drawing a foul on Chickasaw freshman Carter Steinlage.
The ensuing three-point play extended Charles City’s lead to 37-32 and the Comets never looked back from there, winning their first game of the season in a 57-45 final while opening their conference schedule.
Andrews ended the night with 17 points. Comet sophomore JJ Ritter led all scorers with 21 points, which included four 3-point shots. Ritter even scored 3 the hard way when he sunk three-straight free throws after being fouled while shooting a trey, putting Charles City up by 10 (45-35) midway through the fourth quarter.
Tait Arndt scored 11 for the Comets (1-3, 1-0), who trailed 12-6 after one quarter and 22-21 at intermission. But in the second half, Charles City’s defense picked it up while forcing numerous New Hampton turnovers and taking advantage while pushing it up the floor afterwards
If it wasn’t for New Hampton scoring 5 frivolous points in the final 20 seconds — including a 70-footer by Drake Wemark as the buzzer sounded — the Comets would have held the Chickasaws to under 20 points in the second half while only being whistled for three fouls.
Wemark’s YouTube shot gave him 18 points for New Hampton (0-3, 0-1).
* In the first part of the varsity doubleheader, New Hampton’s girls came out on fire hitting their first six shots of the game while jumping out to a commanding 19-7 lead after one quarter against the Comets.
In seasons before, this may have been a good time for Comet fans to go to the concession stand — maybe even check out the wrestling tournament New Hampton was also hosting that night — because there was no way Charles City would bounce back from that deficit.
But this isn’t your older sister/brother graduate’s Comet girls basketball team as it has proven it can play on both sides of the floor this season and be competitive until the final buzzer.
Charles City nearly caught the Chickasaws just before intermission when Lydia Staudt assisted Lauren Connell in the post to draw the Comets within 3 (31-28).
New Hampton managed to regain some of its advantage in the second half, but the Comets repeatedly were able to bounce back to stay within two possessions at various junctures deep into the fourth quarter.
New Hampton was able to eventually hold off the stubborn Comets in a 54-45 final.
The Chickasaws (1-3, 1-0) had four players in double-figures: Alexa Wemark (12), Hope McDonald (11), Kaylee Eggerich (11) and Carlee Rochford (10).
Comet senior Lynn Hoeft scored 13 points off the bench to lead all scorers. Staudt added 10, and Connell scored 9 and once again was in double-figures rebounding with most coming on the offensive end.
The Comet girls (1-4, 0-1) will play Crestwood this Friday in Cresco. The Comet boys will host the Cadets at home.
CHARLES CITY 57, NEW HAMPTON 45
Scoring By Quarters
CC 6 15 17 18 — 57
NH 12 10 10 13 — 45
CHARLES CITY — JJ Ritter 21, Ian Collins 6, Dawson Hinders 2, Bradley Andrews 17 , Tait Arndt 11.
NEW HAMPTON — Drake Wemark 18, Connor Rochford 3, Mason Lane 7, Carter Steinlage 8, Cael Leistikow 1, Carter Ferrie 8.
NEW HAMPTON 54, CHARLES CITY 45
Scoring By Quarters
CC 7 21 5 12 — 45
NH 19 15 7 13 — 54
CHARLES CITY — Lynn Hoeft 13, Dani Stock 6, Rachel Chambers 2, Lydia Staudt 10, Liz Fiser 4, Mackenzy Bilharz 3, Lauren Connell 9.
NEW HAMPTON — Carlee Rochford 10, Sydney Wegner 7, Alexa Wemark 12, Emma Reicherts 3, Hope McDonald 11, Kaylee Eggerichs 11.