NEW ULM - The Cedar Mountain/Comfrey boys basketball team is starting to get on a roll at the right time, and teams around the Tomahawk Conference can't help but notice.
On Friday, the Cougars defeated New Ulm Cathedral 77-51 to win their fifth straight game.
The win improves CM/C's record to 9-2 overall and 8-0 in the conference.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Cedar Mountain/Comfrey’s Henry Pendleton (25) jumps to make a pass between Michael Skillings and Alex Guggisberg of New Ulm Cathedral Friday at CHS.
"It was a conference game, so we had to come out and be ready," Cougars point guard Sam Pendleton said. "We've just been going hard in practice and that's where it all starts."
Pendleton, a sophomore, led the way with 17 points and 11 assists. His passing, especially early on in the game, helped set the tone for the Cougars, who built a big lead in the early going and didn't look back.
His no-look pass to Henry Pendleton resulted in a three-point play, giving the Cougars a 16-4 lead with 14:30 left in the first half.
Later, a basket by Sam Pendleton upped the Cougars' lead to 28-15 with nine minutes remaining in the first half. The Cougars continued to build on the lead, making it 40-20 on a pair of free throws by freshman Javin Larsen.
The Greyhounds were playing catch-up the entire first half and trailed 45-24 at halftime.
CM/C came into the game averaging nearly 90 points in the its previous three games. The Greyhounds knew that the Cougars were going to push the tempo and create a lot of scoring opportunities, so the goal for the Greyhounds was simple - run the offense and slow down the pace.
"We weren't going to run with them, we wanted to really make sure we got back on defense," Cathedral coach Paul Hazuka said. "We got back on defense, but they still got a lot of nice, easy lay-ups.
"The other thing, to slow them down is to spend more time on offense," Hazuka added.?"Our kids did a pretty good job of running the offense and setting screens and going to the basket. That's what we were hoping what we could do tonight and we did OK with that."
The Cougars continued to apply the pressure in the second half, taking a 57-28 lead off of a turnover. The big lead let the Cougars play every single player on the roster.
"I think it's important for us as we move along throughout the season to get more comfortable with the depth on our bench," CM/C coach Brian Pendleton said.?"We're playing nine, sometimes 10 guys now - fortunately tonight, we got everybody in. But we give a lot of credit to [Cathedral], they came out and they just kept playing."
Zach Kerkhoff finished with 13 points and six rebounds for the Cougars and Henry Pendleton finished with 10 points.
Jake Stadick led the Greyhounds with 17 points and Jacob Gangelhoff scored 12 points.
CM/C hosts Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop Tuesday and Cathedral (1-10, 1-7) is at Wabasso Monday.
Despite the loss, Hazuka said his team didn't give up, something that he has been encouraged about throughout the course of the season.
"The kids have always played hard," Hazuka said.?"We're starting to play a little bit smarter I think and we're starting to play a little bit better as a team defensively. We're going to keep that work ethic and see if we can't improve the defensive rotations."