Bears come up just short in season opener

In his first Varsity game, Kaden Hall was a force down low, scoring a team high 18 points in a 70-61 loss against Iowa Valley.

With all the hype and energy coming from the younger boys on the English Valleys squad, it was finally time to put their hard work to a test. The Bears hosted Iowa Valley on November 27, their first action of the season with their initial opener being cancelled the day prior. EV hung around and even had the lead for stretches of the game, but in the end, Iowa Valley pulled away to win it 70-61.

“At times I thought we were brilliant and other times I thought we were young and immature. It just depended on the moment,” Bears coach Caleb Lewis said. “Our youth showed at times, but our potential also shown through and I’m really happy with the effort of our guys.”

The Bears got out to a quick start by outscoring the Tigers 17-11 in the first quarter, then matched that effort in the second quarter to lead 34-28. At that point, EV was led by freshman Kaden Hall, whom was in double digits. Iowa Valley nearly doubled up EV in the third quarter, scoring some quick points off some turnovers via their press. Even after the surplus of points, the Bears remained tied heading into the final quarter.  

A plethora of points were scored in the final eight minutes of play, with the Bears and Tigers combining for 39 points. The first half of the fourth quarter remained close as EV stayed within a couple buckets. The Bears rode the energy of their home fans and vice versa, which exploded after Cole Stephenson drilled a three to get EV within two.

That’s as close as they would get though as Iowa Valley added on a bucket and knocked down a majority of their free throws down the stretch. EV hit some big free throws to stay in it, but were unable to mount a big enough comeback, falling short 70-61.

“I was expecting us to go crazy and compete, and that’s what we did. Our guys felt like they let one slip away,” Lewis said. “Ultimately, at the end of the day, first game of the season, we competed our butts off against a team that’s really given it to us in the last few years.”

Hall led the team with 18 points on eight of 10 shooting and pulled down 10 boards, stole two balls and tallied an assist before fouling out. Hayden Irmen scored 15 points and had four rebounds, three steals and had one assist. Nolan Grove was the third boy to finish in double figures, posting 11 points and made all five of his free throw attempts. Brayden Mikesell scored nine points, Stephenson had seven and Clayton Moore rounded out the scoring with one point on a made free throw.

“It’s really nice to see us not have to rely on one guy since we have multiple guys contributing,” Lewis said. “What I want to see is us look at film and break it down to see what we did well and fix the little things. We haven’t been in games like this in the past, but we need to make sure we don’t beat ourselves up too much over this.”

The Bears headed down to face Sigourney on November 30 to wrap up their first week of play.