Tigers roar into season-opening road win at Smithville

The Strasburg Tigers opened their hoops season on the road against the Smithville Smithies and came home with the 55-35 win on Friday, Dec. 1.

With this being the season opener for both teams, one could expect some anxiety on the court in the early going, and that is exactly what happened. Both teams were needing to find some answers about their depth. Coach Adam Hall’s Tigers came into the game having graduated five seniors from last year’s squad. Who would step up for this year’s squad? Coach Jim Frizell’s Smithies came into the game with a veteran roster but without three experienced seniors due to injury, sickness and vacation. How would his squad react?

Both teams began the game out of sync. The first to settle down and get their team into a rhythm would likely win the ball game.

The Smithies got an early 3-pointer from senior Trevor Pertee to open the first quarter of action. Unfortunately Team Green went cold the rest of the opening quarter. Smithie senior Jacob Reed finally knocked the invisible cover off the rim for Smithville on a nice shot from the low post for two of his 11 points with 6:16 left in the second quarter.

Strasburg held a 11-3 lead at the end of the first quarter and extended their advantage to a 25-13 lead at halftime behind seven first-half points from senior Race King and six points from senior Andrew Cregan.

Hall was pleased with his two seniors for their leadership of this young group of Tigers. “I thought Andrew and Race stepped up and played like seniors should play. I’m proud of their leadership. They will need to continue being big for us as the season continues.”

Smithville started to find a rhythm in the second half when Pertee settled into a groove of his own to score 12 of his team-high 16 points, but the Tigers swarming defense was too much for the Smithie offense to get much of anything going.

Strasburg’s back court did a nice job of boxing out on the boards, out-rebounding Smithville 28-15 on the glass. The Tiger front court applied enough pressure defensively that resulted in 11 steals.

The Tigers went on to score 30 second-half points. Smithville dropped in 22 to give Strasburg the 55-35 victory. The Tigers finished shooting 19 of 36 from the field (6 of 16 from behind the arc). Smithville finished shooting 13 of 38 from the field (3 of 14 from long distance).

King finished the game for the Tigers with 15 points, Cregan ended up with 14 and Mike Neidenthal chipped in seven and was a perfect 5 of 5 from the charity stripe.

Hall was generally pleased with his team’s effort. “I thought we played well at moments. We have a lot to clean up, but that can be expected with our first game of the season. We graduated five kids from last year, so we didn’t know what to expect, but I think our guys did a nice job as a team defensively. Offensively we had some miscues, issues with our timing and a few unforced turnovers, but we’ll work on getting those cleaned up. Our guys overall had some first-game jitters, but we eventually settled down and got into a flow. We need to continue working on some rotations that will develop our depth, but overall it’s always nice to get a win on the road.”

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