Joshua Van Gorp

Joshua Van Gorp had 15 points and six rebounds for Central Tuesday

FOREST CITY — Some unusual struggles at the free throw line spoiled the Central College men’s basketball team’s bid for an opening-night road win Tuesday night.

A 12-0 second-half Waldorf College run, fueled by four 3-point buckets in five tries, turned the game around as Central tumbled 58-53 after leading much of the way. The Dutch raised their degree of difficulty by knocking down just 3-of-16 free throws (18.8%).

Central bolted to a 23-10 lead at the 11:43 mark of the first half but saw the gap trimmed to 31-26 at the break. The Dutch pushed the advantage back to 47-40 on a 3-point bucket by guard Kade Terrell (5th-year, Montrose, Colo.) with 9:43 remaining in the game. But Waldorf (3-1) made its run for a 52-47 lead with 3:45 left. Central missed seven shots and five free throws in that stretch. A Grant Johnson (senior, Van Meter) layup with 41 seconds left pulled Central within 54-43 but the Dutch came up empty after that.

Center Joshua Van Gorp (junior, Pella, Pella Christian HS) had 15 points and six rebounds while Johnson had nine points with five blocked shots and three boards.

“Josh did an awesome job offensively,” coach Joe Steinkamp said. “He made some really nice post moves and got deep position. The guys did a good job of finding him inside.”

The shooting woes overshadowed a fierce defensive effort.

“I thought our defense was great all night,” coach Joe Steinkamp said. “We did a great job of protecting the paint. Grant really owned the inside with five blocks. They were really having a hard time getting anything easy.”

Terrell had eight points with five rebounds and four assists.

Waldorf barely outshot Central from the field 40.0% to 39.3% but the Dutch held a 29-27 advantage on the boards.

“They made a few more plays than we did but it could have gone either way,” Steinkamp said. “It’s a game we have to learn from and be better in the future because we think we’re a really good defensive team and we’re going to be in a lot of close games. We’ve got really tough-minded guys. They were still really positive after the game and I’m confident we’ll bounce back.”

Central travels to Superior, Wisconsin for the Merrill Thompson Classic this weekend, taking on host Wisconsin-Superior Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Yellowjackets are coming off a 10-16 season and opened the year with a 73-57 home-court win over the College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) Tuesday.

“We’re excited to travel and continue getting better and keep growing,” Steinkamp said.

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