It took the Ankeny Centennial boys’ basketball team a little longer than expected to make its trip to Mason City on Tuesday.
“There was something wrong with the bus, and we had to pull off the road on the way up there,” said Centennial coach Bob Fontana. “We didn’t get there until there was 4 minutes left in the first half of the girls’ game.”
It also took the Jaguars a little while to get their offense cranked up once the boys’ game began.
The host Mohawks battled Centennial to a 10-10 tie in the first quarter. The Jaguars then outscored Mason City in each of the next two periods, 15-8, to build a 40-26 lead.
Centennial went on to post a 52-39 victory in the CIML non-conference contest.
“It was an ugly game the first half. We missed seven point-blank shots attacking the rim,” Fontana said. “But I thought we played a lot better the second half.”
Hunter Strait led all scorers with 13 points as Centennial improved to 10-4 on the season. Jackson Brannan had seven points and two steals, Ben Breeding pulled down seven rebounds, and Zach Kluver dished out four assists.
The Jaguars also got a lot of production from their reserves. Brandon Van Meter went 2-for-2 from 3-point range and had seven points, while Cody McCullough chipped in six points and six rebounds.
“Our bench made some big contributions,” Fontana said. “I thought Preston (Kelling) and Lathan (Brandt) gave us a lift in the second quarter, Cody came off the bench in the second half and did a great job, and it was nice to see Brandon play really well tonight. He knocked down two big 3-pointers in the second half, so our bench was very productive tonight. It was a team effort.”
Dylan Miller scored 11 points to lead Mason City, which dropped to 3-12. The Mohawks shot just 33 percent from the field and 55 percent from the free-throw line.
Mason City, which starts two sophomores in the backcourt, took an 18-17 lead in the second quarter before the Jaguars closed out the half with an 8-0 run.
“I have been so impressed with the defensive effort over the last couple of games,” Mohawks coach Nick Trask told the Mason City Globe Gazette. “We’re a young team. We’re only going to get better.”