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Comets ride big second halves for comeback bid, road victory in DH vs. Indians

Comets ride big second halves for comeback bid, road victory in DH vs. Indians
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City’s Drew Martin (No. 42) challenges Waukon’s driving Sean Murphy during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s NEIC BBG, which the Comets won 76-66.

By John Burbridge

CHARLES CITY — Both the Charles City girls and boys basketball teams shifted it into overdrive during the second halves of their respective games after making the long drive to Waukon for Tuesday’s Northeast Iowa Conference varsity doubleheader against the Indians.

For the Comet girls, scoring a second-half season-high of 42 points resulting in a first-and-second-halves season-high of 54 points still left them a little shy in a 72-54 final.

But Comet boys’ 46-point second-half surge — a season-high for them — propelled them to a 76-66 victory while sweeping the season series against Waukon.

As of late, Charles City’s girls team had been showing considerable improvement in regards to defense, protecting the ball, moving the ball, spacing and players finding their offensive grooves. The Comet girls appeared to regress a little in the first half of their final game of the regular season as the Indians jumped out to a 30-point lead midway through the second quarter.

But in the second half, Comet junior Ava Ellis — after several air-ball attempts in the first half — found her range to score 23 of her career-high 26 points in the second half while making a game out of it.

Senior Lydia Staudt scored 12 points and sophomore sister Lauren Staudt added a career-high 10 points for the Comets (0-19, 0-10 NEIC), who after consecutive 3-pointers by Ellis were a possession away from reducing the gap to single-digits late in the third quarter.

Granted, this run occurred with several Indian starters on the bench. And when they returned — especially double-double machine Emma Palmer, whose good hands and nimble footwork working in concert with her size in the paint make her a menace for relatively small teams like Charles City — Waukon (12-8, 6-4) snuffed out any remote chance for a stunning comeback victory.

Charles City’s boys were down by 5 (35-30) at intermission and looked as if they might be in a little trouble especially after the Waukon student section and band drumline brought out the “cowbell” for festive halftime entertainment.

But with Mario Hoefter scoring 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half — which included 8 of 9 free-throw shooting — there was no need for the Comets to Fear the Reaper while they improved to 11-8 overall and concluded NEIC play at 5-5.

Jose Hernandez scored 19, Jack Hanson had 15, Chase Low added 14 and Jeb Wandro’s two 3-pointers for 6 points rounded out the scoring for the Comets.

For Waukon (7-13, 2-8), Braden Hemann led his team with 19 points and Braxton Stewart added 18 with 16 coming in the first half before foul trouble and eventual disqualification taxed his minutes in the second half.

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