Fort Calhoun senior basketball guard Owen Newbold had a list to explain how the Pioneers' 8-7 first period lead against Syracuse ballooned to 18-10 by the end of the quarter Saturday.
And transition scoring.
“Defense and getting rebounds,” sophomore Grayson Bouwman added.
FCHS led by eight points after 8 minutes on their home court against the Rockets (1-1 overall), but won by 27 after 32, 64-37. The victory capped a 2-0 weekend start to the season.
“We got a lot of steals there with our trap and our defense, and we just kept going from there,” Bouwman said of the opening period of Saturday's win.
Shooting helped, too. Newbold sank two 3-pointers in building Fort Calhoun's early advantage.
“Coach is giving us confidence. Coach is telling us to shoot it,” he said before revealing possibly the biggest reason Syracuse was out-shot from beyond the arc. “They were also leaving us wide open.”
Austin Welchert added his own 3-pointer during the first period before Bouwman and Zane Schwarz knocked down two more during the second. With those makes, the Pioneers' lead grew to 32-18 by halftime.
Overall, Bouwman finished with a game-high 19 points. Carsen Schwarz added 14, including six from close during a strong FCHS third-period run, and both Zane Schwarz and Newbold had 11.
After the victory, the Pioneers appeared pleased with their wins against the Rockets and Fremont Bergan on Friday.
“I'd say the best thing we're doing is hustling, working hard,” Newbold said. “We're working very hard this year in practice. We're laser-focused.”
Bouwman echoed his teammate, but added that FCHS still has room to improve, too.
“I think we can play out of the post a little more,” he said. “Keep going inside-out, making shots and keep winning.”
Pioneers topple Bergan
Despite going without a made 3-point basket Friday, the Pioneers won their season opener against Class C2 No. 7 Fremont Bergan, 51-43.
Coach TJ O'Connor said FCHS' play inside was key.
“Got them in foul trouble and found a way on a night the ball would not go in,” he noted.
Bouwman notched a game-high 21 points as the home team held the Knights to just 13 second-half points. Carsen Schwarz added 15 points for the Pioneers, while Zane Schwarz notched nine.
The 2-0 Pioneers next play 7:30 p.m. today against Omaha Concordia. The game will be FCHS' third-straight at home to start the 2021-22 campaign.
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