(Council Bluffs) -- The St. Albert boys basketball team has not pulled any punches with their schedule and are hoping it pays dividends later in the year.
Despite their rigorous schedule and some early-season injuries, the Falcons are currently 4-5 and have won three of their last four after starting the season 0-3.
"I think we are definitely playing a lot better than we were at the beginning of the season," Coach Larry Peterson said. "We are starting to get healthier. Practices have been a lot more intense, too. I think we feel good about where we are at right now. We still have to get better, but I feel pretty good about it."
The Falcons' five losses have occurred to Clarinda, Ankeny Christian, Creston, AHSTW and Grand View Christian, who are a combined 35-14. Those five defeats have come by an average of 10 points per game.
St. Albert never shies away from tough competition, which they hope will lead to satisfying results later this season.
"We are at least hanging around," Peterson said. "We aren't getting blown out. We just have to figure to win those close games, but we are not playing slouches. We just have to hit the shots we need to and execute on offense. Playing those teams is definitely going to benefit us. We are really happy, we just need to get some things turned around."
The Falcons recently chalked up a quality Hawkeye Ten Conference win, defeating Harlan 44-39 on Friday.
"I thought our kids are really tough," Peterson said. "I thought we matched up really well. I just thought our boys were tough enough to hang around and luckily get out of there with a big W."
Senior Sam Rallis missed the first few games but has since returned, averaging 16.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5 steals per game while shooting 58 percent from the field.
"He's finding ways to get the buckets when we need him to," Peterson said. "He raises the game for the other players, too."
While Rallis' eye-popping numbers were probably expected, junior Carter White is complementing Rallis with a breakout campaign.
White is currently averaging 13.9 points per game and shooting 41 percent, including 37 percent from three.
"We didn't know what he was going to do, but he's really been a nice surprise," Peterson said about White. "He has stepped up and now he is starting to draw a lot of attention from other teams. It's definitely nice what he has been able to bring for us. He's shooting the ball well and finding ways to score when we need him to."
Jeff Miller (9.8 PPG), Connor Cerny (8.3 PPG), Greg Fagan (5.6 PPG) and Cy Patterson (4.8 PPG) have also been crucial for the Falcons, who are shooting 41 percent as a team.
"We definitely need to work on our offensive execution," Peterson said. "We have some athletic kids. The execution side is only going to come from experience."
The schedule doesn't get any easier for St. Albert, as bouts with Abraham Lincoln, Glenwood, Denison-Schleswig, Logan-Magnolia and Treynor await them in the second half of the season.
"That's a grinder," Peterson said. "If we can get our offensive execution cleaned up by the time we hit the postseason, I think we will be OK."
St. Albert's next scheduled contest is Friday night against Red Oak. Joe Narmi will have a report from that game as part of the Keast Auto Center Scoreboard Show, which can be heard from 9:30 until 11 on KMA 960 and FM-99.1. The complete interview with Coach Peterson can be heard below.