BLANCHARD — Don’t let the other team score.
That is the pretty simple sounding philosophy Carson City-Crystal coach Ryan Fritz preaches to his team. Actually, it’s a philosophy borrowed from Fritz’s father, but one that seems to be working just fine for the Eagles.
The Eagles held rival Montabella (2-11, 2-4) to just nine first half points en route to a 48-32 MSAC road win on Friday night. It was the 10th win of the season for the Eagles (10-6, 7-1).
“Defensively, we played extremely well. We did exactly what we wanted to on the defensive end,” Fritz said. “It kept them (Montabella) down and our kids took pride in what they did defensively tonight. That is the biggest progress we’ve made this year as opposed to previous years.”
The game was tied through the midway point of the first quarter 5-5, but Carson City hit three consecutive baskets to take an 11-5 lead after the first eight minutes.
That run started a nearly 10 minute scoring drought by the Mustangs. Montabella did not score until 2:46 remaining in the second quarter. By then the Eagles led 20-7.
“It was a tough game. They played us pretty physical,” Montabella coach Gary Jankowsky said. “They took us out of what we wanted to do. They took Nate (Jankowsky) away and other kids have to step up. We got some looks, but couldn’t hit the baskets.”
Brann Schmitt dominated for the Eagles. He outscored the Mustangs 13-9 in the first half and finished with a game-high 22 points. The Eagles led 24-9 at halftime.
“He is big, long and athletic. He has worked on his coordination the past couple of years,” Fritz said of Schmitt. “It’s nice to have him and I hate to say this, but I’m going to miss him next year already. I think the football success he had this year just built up his confidence. He just does things well.”
Defensively, Carson City spent the game focusing on taking Mustangs’ leading scorer Nate Jankowsky out of the game, as he finished with just six points.
“Hunter Clark and Drew Hugenot were our guys that accepted the challenge to guard him (Jankowsky),” Fritz said. “I told him after the game we have a ton of respect for him and that’s why we guard him the way we do. We have two kids that took pride in stopping him from scoring.”
“Anytime you are the focus of the opposing team it is frustrating,” Jankowsky said. “That is the respect they give him. He has worked hard to deserve that respect.”
Carson City extended its lead to 44-20 in the fourth quarter. Mitchell Schneider scored all seven of his points in the final quarter.
“I think Mitchell Schneider did a great job of running the point guard spot,” Fritz said. “When he gets aggressive we are pretty good. When he takes the ball to the rim and goes after it we are pretty good.”
Most of the Eagles points came in the paint and that is something Jankowsky said his team needs to be better against.
“We have to get help side a little better and protect the paint a little better,” Jankowsky said. “If the other team can hit outside shots than good for them, but we have to protect in the paint better.”
Arron Haines also scored seven points for the Eagles.
Brady Burggren and Tyler House led the Mustangs with eight points apiece.
Montabella will host Vestaburg on Monday, while the Eagles host Tri County on Wednesday.