PELLA—Guard Adam Flinn (junior, St. Louis, Mo., Lafayette HS) rained in 29 points and the Central College men’s basketball ran at full-throttle in racing past Wartburg College 92-79 Wednesday night.
The young Dutch (3-4 overall, 1-1 American Rivers) led by as many as 28 points in notching their first conference win. It may have come at a heavy price, however. All-conference guard Jaden Moody (senior, Cambridge, Ballard HS), the team’s lone senior, went down with an injury in the first half. He’s out indefinitely.
“We had to go next man up tonight and I thought some different guys did step up and gave us some good minutes,” coach Craig Douma said. “And we had some foul trouble on top of Caden being hurt. Kade Terrell (sophomore, Olathe, Colo., Montrose HS) hit some shots and then Joe Weber (sophomore, Dunlap, Boyer Valley HS) came in and did some nice things for us.”
Despite losing Moody, the Dutch held their poise against an aggressive Wartburg full-court press, although they did commit 23 turnovers.
“We led from start to finish,” Douma said. “We haven’t done that in a while. I was so pleased with the way we played defensively in the first half. We held them to 26% shooting and 1-for-9 from (3-point range). In the second half we started a little shaky but then we just went on a tear. We did a lot of good things in that stretch.”
Central stretched its 37-22 halftime lead to 60-32 with 13:45 remaining. Wartburg (3-5 overall, 0-1 conference) got within 67-55 with 8:15 remaining but no closer.
Flinn, who erupted for 37 points Nov. 26 at Loras College, upped his season average to 20.4 points a game. He hit 11 of 19 shots to go with five assists and four steals. Freshman guard Drake Johnson (Stanton) and forward Caden Mauck (junior, Kansas City, Mo., Blue Springs South HS) each had 15 points. Mauck had eight rebounds.
“I thought Adam Flinn kind of put us on his back again,” Douma said. “He made some plays for us. But I thought our two freshmen, Drake Johnson and Keaton Rodgers (Peoria, Ariz., Sandra Day O’Connor HS) did some good things. And Caden Mauck had a good second half for us. Another great rebounding night. We need that from Caden every night.”
The Dutch shot a scorching 66.7% from the field in the second half and 53.6% for the game to Wartburg’s 41.3% and held a 41-33 rebounding edge.
“We still have to do better at handling a lead,” Douma said. “But this was a great win for us.”
Central returns to non-conference action Saturday, playing host to Bethany Lutheran College (Minn.) at 5 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. The Vikings are 4-2 after hammering Martin Luther College (Minn.) on the road Wednesday night, 85-68. Central was outscored at Bethany Lutheran last year, 89-70, as guard Cire Mayfield had 25 points, but the Dutch hold a 9-3 advantage in the teams’ series.
“They’re a good ballclub,” Douma said. “They’ve got the returning player of the year in their league (Mayfield). He’s really special. Last year we didn’t handle him at all. They’re really quick and will spread us out. We’ve got to figure out a way to guard those guys.”
It will be Men’s Basketball Alumni Day, with an alumni game at 11 a.m. and a junior varsity contest at 2:30 p.m. Long-time supporter Gary Dirksen, a 1969 Central graduate, will be recognized at halftime of the varsity game. A video stream of the game can be accessed through the Central athletics website at athletics.central.edu.