CLINTON—Preseason scrimmages continued on Friday night, this time with Prince of Peace hosting a pair of varsity contests.
The Irish welcomed non-conference Rivermont Collegiate to the Joe O’Donnell Sports Center, both coming away with wins.
More importantly, both came away with an idea of what they need to work on before they begin playing games that count.
The night was a charity scrimmage, one that raised funds for the St. Jude’s Children Hospital. The money from gates, concessions, halftime entertainment and a 50/50 raffle all contributed and the two shools raised over $1,000 for the cause.
For Irish fans, it was their first time seeing a lot of the Prince of Peace boys in action on Friday night.
After graduating five seniors and four starters, the Irish are playing with an entirely new look. They looked solid in their win over Rivermont in the preseason scrimmage, but will have different looks when it comes time for Tri-Rivers Conference games.
They downed Rivermont 81-13 in the contest on Friday.
The Irish came out with a speedy break right off the bat, exchanging field goals with the Lions. They then closed out the first quarter with a 19-0 run, taking a 21-2 lead into the second period.
They did it with a lot of crisp passes and fast breaks down the floor, using their speed to their advantage.
Kyler Wallace, Kyle Sager and Brandon Raab looked solid in their varsity debut. The guard combo kept the speed upbeat and even found the right openings for baskets of their own, oftentimes in the paint.
Wallace especially offered ball handling for the Irish, flying from one end of the court to the other and dishing out assists let and right.
That tempo gave the Irish a solid 43-8 lead heading into halftime, the first two quarters littered with steals, layups and dunks from senior Nathan Moeller.
The Irish ladies had no problem winning the contest over the Lions, but they found plenty of places they need to improve.
The downed the Lions 46-17 in their first competition.
“We knew coming in that they had a few players who hadn’t played a lot and they don’t play in the offseason,” head coach David Nelson said. “We expected a game like this. For probably a full quarter we looked pretty good. The rest of the game, not exactly what we want.”
By the time the first quarter ended, the Irish already had a 22-0 lead. Still, their offense started out slow with clogged up spacing and poor passes.
“At the end of the day, it just wasn’t the lineup we would like,” Nelson said.
It wasn’t until nearly three quarters of the way through the first quarter when they started finding some groove offensively. They managed to spread out the floor a little bit and start getting the ball inside-outside for looks in the lane and past the three point line.
It helped that they were still scoring despite the shaky offense. Most of their points in the first quarter came off of fast breaks or offensive rebounds.
The Irish also had four turnovers in the first quarter. That could be a problem sign for when they’re playing teams in the Tri-Rivers Conference instead of Rivermont Collegiate.
“We have a big problem with turnovers,” Nelson said. “Four turnovers in the first quarter should not happen in a game like this.”
Nelson was able to get a large number of players in, even while missing a handful. Freshman Sarah Moeller is out with a concussion after a collision in practice a couple weeks ago, while both Lilly Isenhour and Ava Ruden were away at an event.
They easily took the 35-5 lead into the second half and finished the game from there. The Irish open their regular season on the road on Tuesday at Calamus-Wheatland, kicking off TRC play.
“The passing, there were a lot of lob passes tonight and we can’t do that against the better teams,” Nelson said. “Everything starts with defense and rebounding and we have got to get back to that.”