DEWITT, Iowa — Looking to regain its winning ways, Central DeWitt got back to basics.
The Sabers pounded the ball inside all night and rolled to a 63-39 win over rival Maquoketa Tuesday at Central DeWitt High School.
"Just getting the ball inside, go inside out, not just one pass, 3 pointers," said senior Tucker Kinney, who led the Sabers with 16 points.
It's a formula that worked in a 58-55 upset win over then-Class 2A No. 1 Dyersville Beckman, but one the Sabers got away from in the following game, a 55-32 loss to Center Point-Urbana.
"We just needed to get back to playing our game and staying within ourselves and playing more as a team," Kinney said. "I think we came into the game against CPU a little ... we overlooked them. We never need to do that again, just keep playing our game."
After a back and forth first quarter that had Central DeWitt leading its rival 16-11, the Sabers focused on getting the ball to Kinney, who scored eight points in the frame as Central DeWitt took a 28-19 lead into halftime.
That lead stretched to 49-30 after three quarters as Alex McAleer used his length to create Maquoketa turnovers and score six of his eight points in the quarter.
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Along with Kinney and McAleer, Henry Bloom added 12 points from the guard spot and Logan Paulsen had eight more points inside, the Sabers' length giving the Cardinals fits all night.
"With our size, we've got to get the ball inside," Central DeWitt head coach Grady Gallagher said. "That's why, offensively we don't work on it as much because I think we'll find mismatches or ways to score."
Though the Sabers (7-2) forced turnovers on the night, but Gallagher thinks there's more the team can do defensively.
"I feel like we responded tonight, still not hitting on all facets 100 percent yet, for sure. But it's good to get a win against a rival," he said. "Our goal for the second half is to get clicking a little better defensively."
Maquoketa was led by Clayton Widel, who scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds before fouling out. Brady Digman added nine points and Max Keller had eight as the Cardinals (2-7) are still trying to figure out their roles after graduating 10 seniors from last year's 20-3 squad.
"We have some guys that, ever since Christmas break, we've gotten a lot better," Maquoketa head coach Matt Hartman said. "The kids are buying into roles. They're still trying to figure out what that means, that new role and what to do with that new role but they're doing everything we're asking. We're improving."
Even though there's another game left in the conference rivalry before Central DeWitt moves to the Mississippi Athletic Conference next year, the players were eager to avenge a loss earlier this year during the football season, with many players on both sides playing on the football field earlier this year.
"This one feels good," Kinney said, "beating them after the football game and getting after them."