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Western Iowa Today

Size and aggressiveness from Reisz and Birch power Harlan past Creston

By Bennett Blake,


(Harlan) Harlan overcame a 14-point deficit early in the 2nd quarter to beat Creston 64-55 in boys basketball on Friday.

Franz Reisz scored 16 points and Jacob Birch added 15. The duo combined for 22 of Harlan’s 31 points in the 1st half. Will Arkfeld hit a few 3’s off the bench and scored 11. Creston was led by 12 from Ethan Crawford while Jake Hoyt scored 10.

A balanced scoring attack got Creston off to a quick start. All five starters scored within the game’s first few minutes. Kyle Strider led the way with 7 points in the 1st quarter. There were five lead changes initially before Creston’s 3-point shooting allowed them to build a 23-12 lead heading into the 2nd quarter. The Panthers stayed hot early in the 2nd, building leads of 28-14 and 30-16. Harlan quickly got back into the game, thanks in large part to strong drives to the hoop from Birch. The senior spear headed a 14-0 run to tie the game at 30. The Panthers finally ended the drought with a basket late in the 1st half to lead 32-30 and Harlan hit 1/2 at the line right before the break to make it a 32-21 game at half.

The 3rd quarter belonged to Harlan. They outscored the Panthers 22-11 in the frame to take a 53-43 lead into the 4th. An 11-0 Cyclone stretch took them from down one to up ten. On Tuesday Harlan held a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter against Denison-Schleswig and lost in overtime. On Friday they made sure history wouldn’t repeat itself. The Cyclones led by double digits for most of the final 8:00, including by as many as 14 points.

Brad Curren scored 5 of his 7 points after halftime while Jace Gubbels and Teagon Kasperbauer each knocked in a 2nd half 3-pointer to balance things out after big first halves from Reisz and Birch. Arkfeld scored 8 of his 11 in the 2nd half.

Harlan improves to 10-4 on the season. Creston drops to 8-6. These teams will meet again on February 10th.

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