Eagles soar past Wildcats

A 32-point performance from sophomore Kristt Hilden and a stellar effort on the defensive end of the hardwood propelled Cashton to its second win in three games Tuesday night.
Hilden knocked down nine three-pointers to lead the Eagle cagers to an 88-27 drubbing of La Farge in nonconference boys basketball action at Cashton High School.
Cashton held the Wildcats under 20 points in both halves – giving up just 13 tallies over the opening 18 minutes of play and only 14 in the second half.
Cashton head coach Nick Bakke said his young team has struggled with match-ups on defense this season, but played well in that aspect against La Farge.
“I have not been pleased with our one-on-one performances defensively for most of the season. We have been allowing most teams to score efficiently throughout the year shooting,” he said.
“Much of this has to do with the lack of equal match-ups. Most of the games we have played up to this point have been senior-heavy teams. We, on the other hand, have asked many of our underclassmen to defend 17-year-old and far bigger/taller players,” Bakke continued. “La Farge was far more comparable to our line-up and, as a result, you could see a difference in our ability to perform defensively. They have one junior and several sophomores leading their team. They remind me a lot of our team three years ago.”
Cashton got off to a stellar start, effectively putting the game away in the first half when the Eagle cagers forged a 56-13 lead at the break.
“This year, we wanted to focus on playing more up-tempo on offense. We have worked on extending our pressure defensively and looking to move the ball up the court better offensively,” offered Bakke.
“We lack size across the board, so in order for us to compete in games against larger opponents, we need to use the pace of the game to our advantage,” he added. “In comparison to our last year’s performance, we did not score in the 60s during the entire 2016-17 season. After (Tuesday’s win), we are averaging 63 points per game, clearly demonstrating our growth and increase in our pace of game over one season.”
Cashton sizzled the nets against the Wildcats, knocking down 25 field goals, including a dozen from beyond the three-point arc.
Bakke said the three-point shot is an effective weapon because the Eagles have a core group of players who are efficient from beyond the arc.
“Along with playing an up-tempo basketball game, we do rely on the three-point play for a couple of reasons. The first resulting from our size. We need to outshoot teams from the arc. We simply are not strong enough at this point to get in the paint and finish,” said Bakke, adding that the three-pointer is quickly becoming one of the most effective shots in the game.
“Kristt is a great example of a player who is able to perform at a very high level because of his shooting abilities. He has scored in the upper 30s three times this season and is shooting at a high level. For example, (Tuesday) night he shot over 64 percent from behind the arc,” he continued. “On the season, Kristt is shooting 42.2 percent from behind the arc and averaging 21.2 points per game. This is no small feat for a sophomore against the match-ups he has seen. There is a lot of promise for not only Kristt as a player, but is a perfect example of what our program is becoming.”
Hilden hit nine three pointers, including five in the second half, to lead the Eagles with 32 points.
Carter Hall added an 11-point effort for Cashton, followed by Brady Butzler with 10, Isaac Hemmersbach and Kole Ripley with nine apiece, Tyler Schendel and Austin Schaldach with four each, Bennett Helgerson with three and Damon Lukaszewski, Sam Freiberg and Brett Butzler with two apiece.
Cashton improved to 2-8 overall with the win.
The Eagle cagers are back in action tonight (Thursday), when they travel to Bangor to take on the league-leading Cardinals in a 7:30 p.m. Scenic Bluffs Conference contest at Bangor High School.

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