FOREST CITY – The Forest City boys basketball team has flown under the radar this season while amassing a 9-1 record.
While coaches tend to place greater emphasis on conference games, Indians coach Dan Rosacker was looking for something special on Saturday as the Indians entertained a quality Clear Lake squad in nonconference play.
Forest City responded with a spectacular defensive effort, particularly in the third quarter, and pulled away for a 74-54 victory to move to 10-1 on the season.
“(Clear Lake) is a very good offensive team,” Rosacker said. “This was all about the defense.”
Forest City broke the game open in the third quarter when it limited the Lions to one field goal and just three points.
By contrast, the Indians were 8-of-11 from the floor and scored 20 in the same period to balloon a four-point halftime advantage to 21 heading to the fourth quarter.
The Forest City defensive effort also frustrated Lions senior guard Zach Lester, who entered the game with second-best points per game average in the state at better than 31 per game.
Lester, who is generally successful driving through the lane, frequently had his drives thwarted by Forest City’s Sam Snyder and Ryan Theel – who both list at 6-foot-6 – among others.
“Avery Busta gets lost in the shuffle,” Rosacker said. “He is so quick.”
Busta, a 5-foot-8 junior, occupied the point in the Indians’ zone defense and was consistently able to slow the Lions’ dribble penetration.
Snyder finished with 17 points to lead a balanced scoring attack for Forest City.
Chris Jermeland tallied 11 points while Micah Lambert added 11 points off the bench.
Busta and Theel had nine points apiece.
One bright spot for Clear Lake was the long-range shooting of junior guard Drew Enke.
Enke connected on five 3-pointers and finished with 15 to lead Clear Lake.
Lester finished with nine and now stands at 979 career points.
Forest City (10-1) travels to Eagle Grove on Tuesday.
Clear Lake (6-4) returns home to face New Hampton in nonconference action on Monday.