The Iowa Central men's basketball team started off their final stretch of home games on a positive note, rolling past the Grand View Junior Varsity 98-73 at Hodges Fieldhouse Tuesday night.
The Tritons, now 14-10, finish the season with seven home contests in their final eight. Iowa Central head coach Dennis Pilcher said he hopes his squad takes advantage of that schedule.
"We've got seven games left, and six of them are at home," said Pilcher, whose team snapped a mini two-game skid. "We've burned through a lot of diesel. Now it's up to us to take advantage of this.
"I never really want to play a game like this now (against a JV team) but we didn't have a choice. They couldn't play us in November or December. I was a little worried about a letdown. A game like this can test your mental toughness."
Dylan Travis led the Tritons with 29 points. He also pulled down eight rebounds. He's the team leader for the Tritons in that department. Jesse Jones added 20 for Iowa Central. Logan Losh and Justin Lawler had eight each.
Iowa Central played the game without Winston Yergler, who is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle.
Iowa Central 98,
Grand View JV 73
Iowa Central Jesse Jones 6-9 6-7 20, Ky Kramer 3-8 2-2 8, Dylan Travis 11-15 2-3 29, Logan Losh 3-7 0-0 9, Puot Kudhot 3-5 0-2 6, Justin Lawler 3-8 2-2 9. Javonte Young 3-4 2-2 8, Malik Brooks 0-2 0-0 0, Ben Hunt 2-2 0-0 4, Luke Guenther 2-2 1-2 5, Jasmin Biberovijk 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 36-62 15-20 98.
Grand View JV Ben Larson 2-7 0-0 6, Justin Schweiner 2-7 0-0 6, Avery Thedford 0-2 0-0 0, Kyle Brosamle 3-6 2-4 9, Deion Alston 9-16 4-4 25, Elijah Kirkland-Cuffee 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Santos 4-6 0-0 10, Grant Sagan 1-2 0-0 3, Branden Bonewitz 0-0 0-0 0, Rodrigo Tognini 0-3 0-0 0, Justin Wiley 1-1 0-0 2, Mason Denholm 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 27-62 6-10 73.
Halftime score: Iowa Central 52, Grand View JV 39. Three-point shots: Iowa Central 11-23 (Jones 2-4, Kramer 0-3 Travis 5-7, Losh 3-6, Kudhot 0-2. Lawler 1-2). Grand View JV 13-35 (Larson 2-5, Schweiner 2-6, Thedford 0-2, Brosamle 1-4, Alston 3-7, Montgomery 2-4, Santos 2-3, Sagan 1-2, Tognini 0-2). Total fouls: Iowa Central 14, Grand View JV 18.
"With Yergler out, we'll need Justin Lawler to give us some good minutes," said Pilcher. "He did a good job tonight."
Deion Alston led the Vikings (6-7) with 25 points, but he was held to just four in the second half. Javen Montgomery had 12 and Jacob Santos 10 for Grand View.
Iowa Central's five-guard lineup led to 58 percent shooting for the game, including 19 of 26 in the second half for 73 percent. Iowa Central also had a 15-6 advantage at the free throw line.
The Vikings were just 12 of 35 from three-point range and finished 27 of 62 from the floor for the game.
"This year is the first time I've played five guards," said Pilcher. "It's been fun. They are playing hard. We just need to execute.
"We'll never out jump anyone. Our margin of error has been very slim."
Grand View stayed with Tritons for most of the first half. Every time Iowa Central took a double-digit lead the Vikings pulled back within striking distance. The Tritons led 24-13 with 12:23 in the half, but it was cut to 24-19 on a pair of threes. Iowa Central finally pulled away late in the half and led 52-39 at the break.
The Tritons scored the first seven points of the second half to lead 59-39 and this time the Vikings didn't have an answer. The lead hit 30 points at 83-53 with 8:23 to play and the only question mark was whether the Tritons would reach the 100-point mark.
Pilcher was able to play most of his bench. Eleven players saw action and nine scored.
The Tritons will be at home for the next three games, starting Saturday against Kirkwood for "Jam the Gym"?day. The Tritons' only road contest left on the slate is Feb. 19 at Southwestern.