By BURT ANGELI
FLORENCE, Wis. - Florence extended the Northern Lakes Conference boys basketball favorites to the fourth quarter Friday.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Florence’s Connor Beaster (32) splits the defense of Crandon’s Deion Dehart (22) and Brady Weber (11) in Friday’s Northern Lakes Conference game.
The inexperienced Bobcats battled to a second half draw before Crandon pulled away for a 51-40 decision. The Cardinals rolled 16-3 over a nine-minute stretch in the second half.
"They switched defenses on us (zone to man) and all of a sudden the guys wanted to do things their way instead of running it the right way," Florence Coach Tom Beck said. "For about three minutes there we played shook and we got out of our rhythm."
Crandon, leading 19-17 at halftime, opened the game in a zone defense.
"We saved the man to man for the second half," veteran Crandon Coach Jim Van Zile said. "I didn't want to get my big kid in foul trouble.
"I have confidence in my man to man so we came out with it in the third quarter."
Kory Kincaid scored 15 points and Trevor Marvin had 13 for the Cardinals (2-0). Six-foot-five Deion Dehart had nine points.
"Give Jim's guys credit," Beck said. "They're big, strong, experienced and the defending champions. They're a good club."
Six-foot-eight Connor Beaster spearheaded the Bobcats with 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. The Bobcats had nobody else over six points.
"Connor Beaster had a monster game," said Beck, who also cited Lukas Gareau, Drew Seibold and Tyler Beck for their defense. "Our guys played hard. We left too many points on the floor. We missed too many free throws (7-19) and turned it over (20) one too many times."
With the score tied at 31, Crandon posted a 7-3 edge over the final four minutes of the third quarter.
To start the fourth quarter, Crandon rolled 9-0 for a 47-34 cushion at 3:14.
"We made a nice little run and played hard against their man to man," said Van Zile, whose Cardinals edged Elcho earlier this week to open the season. "But you have to give credit to the Bobcats and Coach Beck. They did a nice job and hung in there. They're going to be tough in our conference."
Florence (0-3, 0-2) hosts Marinette St. Thomas Aquinas Academy of the M&O Conference on Monday.
"We're showing some encouraging signs," Beck said. "We played hard, we're coming along and we're right there.
"Right now we have an inability to play four solid quarters."
Crandon's junior varsity topped Florence 40-34. Jeff Friend led the Bobcats with 12 points and Spencer Davis had nine.
Crandon 19 10 9 13 - 51
Florence 17 7 10 6 - 40
CRANDON: Novak 8, Weber 4, Marvin 13, Kincaid 15, Matthew Mullins 2, Dehart 9. FT: 10-24. F: 15.
FLORENCE: Noeske 2, Seibold 2, Gareau 4, Beck 1, Valine 6, Beaster 19, Sword 6. FT: 7-19. F: 19. Fouled out: Seibold (6:30, 4th), Beck (5:57, 4th).
3-point FG: Gareau, Valine 2, Marvin 2, Kincaid. FG shooting: Crandon 19-44, Florence 15-38. Reb: F 27 (Beaster 13), C 26.