Senior forward Cash Schoolen has helped the Ankeny boys’ basketball team to a 6-1 record. He scored a season-high 13 points and grabbed five rebounds in the Hawks’ 79-77 victory at Dowling Catholic on Friday.
Schoolen is averaging 6.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. He earned all-conference honorable mention as a junior.
Here is some inside info on Schoolen:
Congratulations on an outstanding season thus far. Coming off a 9-15 mark last year, how surprised are you by the team’s fast start?
The start of this season feels way better than last year for sure. I’m not surprised very much, though. We put the work in during the offseason so seeing it pay off feels great.
What has been the key to the turnaround?
Being together and playing together often has been huge in our success early on. Last year we had lots of guys that hadn’t played together so knowing each other’s tendencies now is very beneficial.
Your team has won six straight games, all but one of them on the road. Do you guys enjoy playing in hostile environments?
Home games are great, but walking into an opponent’s gym and challenging them is a different feeling. Getting big road wins shows the capabilities of this team.
Your team has averaged nearly 79 points over the last three games. What makes your offensive attack so effective?
Having all five guys on the floor with the ability to score at any time is huge. Carson (Johnson) and Lio (Aguirre) can always do their thing, and having shooters like Luke (Anderson) and Rio (Aguirre) in the corners is always a big help.
Your senior point guard, Johnson, is having a monster season, averaging better than 25 points per game. What was going through your mind when he was scoring a career-high 40 points during the win at Waukee Northwest on Tuesday, when he went 8-of-9 from 3-point range?
Carson’s performance at Northwest showed that zone defenses might not play in your favor (against him). You’ll always find some trouble if you lose track of him.
You seem to score a lot of your points off hustle plays. Do you just try to be the glue guy for the team, doing whatever is needed?
Offensively, I try and do whatever will help the team win. I’ve found success on fast breaks a lot and whenever I find an open shot or lane to drive I’ll take advantage of it.
Your team will play at Ankeny Centennial on Tuesday, looking to avenge a pair of losses to the Jaguars last season. What do you guys need to do to come away with the win?
Defense is going to be a necessity against the Centennial offense. We’ve shown we can score upward of 80 points so getting stops and rebounds will be huge in that game.
Last year, your team had a 25-point lead in the game at Centennial before the Jaguars rallied for a 51-49 victory. Has that game provided a little extra motivation for you guys?
Coach (Brandt) Carlson always tells us to forget about prior games and that the most important game is the next one. We’ll keep that memory in the back of our heads for sure but still stay focused on this one.
This game will feature a matchup between two of the state’s best guards in Johnson and Luke Winkel of Centennial. How do you see that matchup?
That matchup between those two is always a good one. I’m confident in my teammate, and everyone knows what he can do.
You’re also a high jumper on the boys’ track team. Have you set any goals for the track season in the spring?
My sophomore year I made it to state for high jump so getting to state and getting points for my team is the main goal.
Plans for next year? Would you like to play a sport in college?
I have no plans for next year yet, but basketball and track are always an interest of mine.