GARNER – After a rough outing at Forest City on Friday, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura boys basketball coach Jake Young was looking for some improvement against West Hancock in a Top of Iowa Conference West Division matchup Tuesday.
Young had to like what he saw out of the Cardinals, particularly in the second half, as G-H-V pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 62-46 victory.
“We had been playing too fast,” Young said. “We were able to control the pace. I was really happy with the effort.”
Under coach Brian Peterson, the Eagles have had tremendous success in recent seasons in forcing their up-tempo game, but the Cardinals negated that with some solid defense and an offense that found its stride midway through the third quarter.
G-H-V edged out to an eight-point halftime advantage on the strength of a defense that limited the Eagles to just 27-percent shooting during the first 16 minutes and an offense that featured seven Cardinals finding the scoring column.
West Hancock closed the gap midway through the third quarter before the Cardinals' offense started breaking the Eagles’ press and attacking the basket.
The fourth quarter was the difference for G-H-V, as the Cardinals sank seven of nine shots from the floor in the period.
James Betz, a 6-foot-7 University of Northern Iowa signee, tallied 10 points to lead a balanced Cardinals offense.
Jared Graham, a senior who saw his first action of the season, added 10 points off the bench.
Five other Cardinals scored between six and nine points.
Lamar Flowers led all scorers with 15 for the Eagles.
G-H-V (2-1), returns to the court Friday when it travels to Belmond-Klemme.
West Hancock (1-2) plays host to Rockford on Thursday.