He tipped pass after pass away from its intended target and set up east shot after easy shot for the Central High School boys basketball team.
Junior Jerred Ambrose was a turnover machine Friday night in helping the Red Raiders to a 67-35 victory over Logan in front of about 1,500 people at the Logan Fieldhouse.
The 6-foot-5 forward had six steals that had the Rangers tentative all the way up the floor in a game Central took over in the third quarter.
“You have to get some easy looks, and Jerred at the top of our 1-3-1 (zone defense) allows us to get them,” said Central coach Todd Fergot, whose team beat the Rangers for the seventh straight time. “I think that also wears teams down having to go against that kind of pressure.”
Logan (2-8, 1-3) had nine turnovers in the first half and 12 in the second, and the Red Raiders (9-1, 3-0) landed the knockout blow by starting the third quarter with a 17-3 run.
Ambrose had five of his 14 points during that run and had a steal that led to his own 3-pointer off a pass from Ethan Haberman.
“They came out and raised their level (of play) in the third quarter, and we’re still trying to match those kind of things,” Logan coach Andy Fernholz said. “We had some small victories in the first half, but Central just played really well in the second.”
Senior forward Alex Hayden led the Red Raiders with 18 points and six rebounds as they moved into a tie with Aquinas for the MVC lead. Those teams meet for the first time at Central on Jan. 21.
Ambrose, who is averaging 11.7 points in his last three games, made 6 of 8 shots and 3-for-4 with eight points in the second half.
“We were able to make them force some shots, and it stopped them from getting anything going in the lane,” Ambrose said of the defensive pressure. “Trey (Davis) played a good game and got (seven) rebounds, but we didn’t give them a lot (of offense) there.”
Logan played its first game without injured senior Tanner Pierzina, who leads the team in scoring (13.8), but suffered a high ankle sprain in a loss at Wausau West one week ago.
Fernholz said he hopes to have Pierzina back for Friday’s game against Holmen, but that he isn’t sure if it will happen.
“He can stretch a defense, and he’s someone else opponents have to worry about,” Fernholz said of Pierzina. “We also missed his leadership in this game because he’s a rock for us out there.”
Senior Zach Hoeth scored 17 points to lead the Rangers, and he had 11 of them in the first half. He made 7 of 11 shots and was the only consistency Logan’s offense had.
“They have good outside shooters, and he’s one of them,” Fergot said of Hoeth. “He shot it a little better than we thought he would and had a great game.
“He made it hard for us to pull away until we did.”