Comets Lockdown Defense in Friendly Rivalry

The Comets continued with their stifling defense Saturday night in a double-header hosted by the Park Christian Falcons. While the Falcons outlasted Hillcrest in the other games of the night, the varsity boys game saw another impressive and aggressive showing by the varsity squad.

The Comets started the game down early. Park Christian attacked the paint, using Tanner Brunsberg in isolation to beat the Comets off the dribble. Brunsberg found soft spots in the Comet defense ten feet from the hoop and scored the Falcons first eight points. Hillcrest called a time-out down six points after two minutes of play.

The Comets emerged from the timeout with more aggression on defense. They went on a 21-6 run, led largely by creating turnovers and pushing for high percentage shots inside the paint. Hillcrest only hit six shots outside the paint in the entire contest at the Falcon’s home. Five of those shots were beyond the three point line. The Falcons went into a zone to keep the Comets out of the paint midway through their 21-6 run.

The Comet defense faltered before the half, failing to convert on their final four series while the Falcons trimmed the Comet lead to 8. With a 26-17 lead at half Hillcrest entered the locker room to revisit objectives, game plan for the zone they faced that slowed their offense, and reset on their defense that held the Falcons in check most of the night.

The Comets entered the second half in their lockdown defense. They placed Comet Senior Gabe Preston in a shadow stance on Brunsberg. Preston held Brunsberg in check the remainder of the night. The Falcons looked for open shots, but found a Comet in their face most of the night. Hillcrest collected 12 steals throughout the game, consistently holding a hand in the passing lane while forcing pressure on the ball before half court.

When the Falcons did get a shot to the rim it was often collected by the Comets. Hillcrest crashed the boards to the tune of 27 defensive rebounds, earning second chances on the offensive side only 10 times during the night.

Hillcrest pulled away from the Falcons midway through the second half, outlasting the Falcons with strong help defense and a controlled offense. The Comets were led by their seniors. Nick Foss proved to be an X-factor, collecting three steals while forcing a handful of turnovers with strong defense on the wing. Gabe Preston collected three steals as well, providing a smothering defense on the Falcons’ shooters most of the night. Sander Frustol continued his double-double campaign in 2019, pulling down 10 rebounds in scoring a team high 14 points.

The Comets shot 40% on the night, 29% behind the arc. They only made two trips to the free throw line, revealing their patience on offense to find open shots.

The Comets play a double-header with West Central Area on Tuesday as they look to continue their march of improvement in the 2019 season.

Wayne StenderComment