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|3/22/2014 ||Email this article Print this article |
|Five Central boys earn All-WaMaC Southeast pod honors|
By Ross Eberhart
When it came to WaMaC boys basketball, 2013-14 proved to be the year of the Sabers.
Central took part in 18 games against conference foes and won 17 of them, while going a perfect 14-0 in games that counted to the WaMaC standings (games against teams from other pods and the first of two games against teams in your pod).
That made the Sabers champions on a pair of levels. Central won its individual pod with a 7-1 mark and to top things off, wrapped up its first outright WaMaC title since 2004-05.
Not surprisingly, the Sabers dominated their pod (unofficially labeled the Southeast Pod) in the recently released All-WaMaC basketball teams as well with six different individuals honored.
Central players took two of the five first-team spots with seniors Kyle Bauer and Christian Wright earning the honors, while junior McClain Steffens landed on the second team.
Another junior, Jordan Cornelius, collected honorable mention accolades and so too did senior Trevor Green.
The final Saber honored was head coach Jeff Frick, who was selected as the pod's Coach of the Year.
This was the second-straight all-conference honor for Bauer, who led the Southeast Pod in scoring during conference play with 258 points (an average of 14.3 per game).
The senior led the Sabers with three-pointers with 35 and excelled at the free throw line as well, going 70-of-94 (74.4 percent).
"Kyle has always been an excellent three-point shooter, but it was his ability to get to the rim and the development of his mid-range game that made him very difficult to defend," coach Frick said. "He has earned some great honors this season."
Bauer was dominant on the defensive end as well. The senior pulled down 107 rebounds during the season and led the entire WaMaC with 63 steals, while also blocking 16 shots.
"He is not only a scorer, but was also a very solid defender and rebounder for us," Frick said.
Providing his own form of versatility was Wright.
A 6-4 forward, Wright was equally good at taking the ball to the rim (he shot over 50 percent on his two-point tries during conference play) and draining three-pointers (he finished the year with 41 of them).
"Christian has excellent range and is very accurate shooting the three," Frick said of Wright, who finished the year with 275 points (a 10.2 average). "Like Kyle, Christian became more effective when he was taking the ball to the rim - it made him hard to guard."
The Sabers' leader on the glass, Wright pulled down a team-best 150 rebounds this season, which was tops among players in the pod. Forty of those rebounds came on the offensive end.
Wright dished out 36 assists this season, came away with 15 steals and blocked nine shots.
"Christian was also our leading rebounder this season," Frick said. "At about 6-4, he played many roles for us, inside and out."
One player often providing a spark for the Saber offense was Steffens, who finished fourth in the entire conference with 102 assists.
The junior guard was a scoring threat, too. Steffens finished 10th among all players in the pod with 238 points and was a constant visitor to the free throw line, leading the Southeast Pod with 127 foul shots (Steffens made 95 of them, good for a 74.8 success rate).
"McClain was our energy on the court," Frick said. "He is very explosive and could take the ball to rim where he would score or find an open teammate."
Steffens finished fourth for the Sabers with 88 rebounds and made the most of tough defensive assignments with 32 steals and a block.
"Mac led us in assists and he was one of our best defenders," Frick said.
Giving the Sabers a second proficient ball-handler was Green. The senior guard piled up 73 assists in his final season (good for sixth among players in the pod) and added 108 points (none bigger than his game-winning three-pointer against rival Maquoketa).
"Trevor was like an extra coach on the floor," Frick said. "He knew when we needed to control the tempo and slow it down and when we needed to pick up the pace."
Green knocked down 15 three-pointers this season and came away with 20 steals, while also grabbing 55 rebounds.
Making a strong debut in the paint this season was Cornelius, who joined with fellow junior Lucas Daniels to give Central a two-headed monster in the paint.
Cornelius came up big on the glass, pulling down 95 rebounds with 33 of them coming on the offensive end.
The center added 149 points for the Sabers (an average of 5.5 per game) and was by far the team's most efficient scorer, making 55 of his 90 shot attempts (61.1 percent).
Cornelius shared the ball, too, with 19 assists, while also coming up with 11 steals and tying for the team-lead with 18 blocks.
"Jordan did a great job in the post," Frick said. "His ability to finish inside was a key to our success.
"He is a very hard worker on the court."
The Sabers' final honoree was Frick, himself, as the Central headman produced the best season of his current six-year tenure with the program.
The Sabers qualified for the state tournament for just the fourth-time ever and won their first games in Des Moines in more than 30 years.
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