The second double header in four days saw the Lady Comets heat up the gym for the guys. Saturday night the Lady Comets overcame a 20 point deficit in Oak Grove, which saw the boys take the court and follow suit on their way to an exciting victory. Wednesday night was more of the same when Underwood made the trip to the Hillcrest gym in a neighborhood double-header.
As the Lady Comets took the court Wednesday they carried with them a bag of well played games that saw them on the losing side due to ball control. After the opening tip it looked like the Lady Comets remedied most problems. Crisp passes around the key saw the Underwood Rockets chasing the ball as Hillcrest played one pass ahead to start the game.
The Rocket press looked porous when Senior guard Susana Preston caught the inbounds. A quick look up the court was all Susana needed to break the press, hitting a Comet near the half court line before darting down the court to open a fast break. But after a few easy buckets the Rockets defended Preston differently and the Comets found themselves on the back side of a Rocket lead for the rest of the game.
Moments of brilliance would shine through Comet play as they worked tirelessly to breakdown the Rocket defense, transitioning to offense with a scrappy attitude that often saw Lady Comets on their knees with the ball bouncing away from a Rocket defender. In the course of the Comets full-press aggression, Senior Abigail Christenson quietly took control of possessions, leading the Comets in stats by pulling down 15 rebounds and adding 17 points. Christenson's double-double set the tone for the Comet boys who watched the Lady Comets play with stamina down the stretch before the boys left the stands to don their jerseys and cover last minute game prep.
The Comet guys stood in a mob in front of the hallway leading to the locker rooms as the Lady Comets walked off the court. High fives from the ladies passed on a game time responsibility to the guys who were now tagged to head onto the court for the second half of the double-header. The ladies lost to Underwood 76-49.
The tipoff for the guys game seemed take longer than usual. As the referee tossed the ball in the air there was a soft pause and silence before Kyler Newman lightly tapped the ball to a Comet player. The calm in the gym was a peaceful moment that wouldn't be felt again until the final buzzer some 60 minutes later. The Comets set an intensity that seemed to electrify the gym, forcing Hillcrest to a 10 point lead before a minute ticked off the clock.
The intensity the girls started their game with translated to the Comet guys, who took advantage of a few defensive miscues with skip passes and easy layups. Falling down 10 points, Underwood regrouped, coming out of their timeout with a scoring streak that cut their 10 point deficit to 8 before the halftime buzzer rang.
Having started the game with a hockey-style substitution regiment, Comet Coach Gregg Preston switched up his lines from the first half. Where Daniel Preston and Sean McGuire used their long arms to break up passes in the first half, the two were shuffled into other lineups, joining Sam Isaac and Gabe Preston. Isaac and Preston are Gregg Preston's defensive pace changers, a different look for opposing offenses who see Tommy Thompson, Reggie Undseth, and Kyler Newman's quick feet and athleticism. Isaac and Preston put their nose into defenders, out-working and out-positioning offenders in simple X's and O's basketball that helps Hillcrest hold leads while scorers sip water and receive further instruction during breaks on the bench.
The change of pace worked well for Gregg Preston's squad. The fresh legs kept scorer's shooting form intact as Hillcrest shot 48% from the field in making 11 three-pointers throughout the night. Senior Kyler Newman ran the floor, posting 31 points in his simple drive, slash, and pass approach to offense. Tommy Thompson spotted up for 15 points on the night, following Newman's lead a few times in aggressively taking the ball to the rim. Sander Frustol and Sean McGuire held the middle of the court in check, with Frustol posting 8 rebounds and McGuire finding teammates 5 times to rack up his assists on the season. Frustol and McGuire helped the Comets pull down 36 rebounds, a key stat in the contest as Hillcrest closed out their 11th win.
The Comets will play in Waubun on Monday, giving their legs some rest after a long January where the Comets went 5-4 as they begin to take shape for the second half of their season.