(Creston) -- One of the hottest boys basketball teams in KMAland has won five of their last six despite some crucial injuries.
"We are rolling in the right direction," Creston Coach Bryce Schafer tells KMA Sports. "We are just trying to put some pieces together with the different injuries that have occurred and trying to find the right roles for everybody as the season goes forward. It seems to be moving positively. We are looking forward to the challenge."
The Panthers opened the season with losses to Winterset and Atlantic, but have since responded with victories over St. Albert, Shenandoah, Clarinda, Denison-Schleswig and Red Oak and now sit at 5-3 on the season.
"I don't know that we started with the greatest amount of energy," Schafer said. "We just weren't prepared. I don't know if a lot of players were ready for the roles they were thrown into. But the practice was able to put us in a better place and we were able to put W's on the board."
The success for Creston comes despite significant injuries. Last year's leading scorer -- Brance Baker has been sidelined throughout the season with a shoulder injury while their second-leading scorer, Cael Kralik, has missed the entire season with an injury he sustained during the football season. The injuries have prompted many new faces to step up.
"I am extremely proud of the way they have been playing," Schafer said. "A lot of them are playing in roles or minutes that they didn't expect to get. They are really stepping up to the plate and doing what we are asking of them."
Colby Burg has been the newfound leader for Coach Schafer's offense.
The senior is currently averaging 17.8 points per game and shooting 48 percent from the field, including 39 percent from deep.
"Offensively, his growth spurt has given him a lot of confidence going to the basket," Schafer said. "Going to the rim and adding a mid-range game has made him very dynamic. All of those things have really combined to make him a well-rounded player."
Kaden Briggs (7.1 PPG), Kyle Strider (5.8 PPG), Evan Bruce (4.8 PPG), Khalil Sherrod (3.8 PPG), Cole Strider (3.6 PPG) and Patrick Varner (3.0 PGG) have also been key cogs for the Panthers.
Creston returns to action Friday night against Lewis Central and will also face Shenandoah, Kuemper Catholic and Atlantic in the next eight days.
"The Hawkeye Ten is just brutal," Schafer said. "Every night is a difficult game. Iron sharpens iron. We look forward to those contests. We just need to focus on playing five-man defense and getting stops. That always helps us offensively. We are dialed into LC and playing well one possession at a time."
Scott Vicker will be on hand Friday night for KMA Sports. His recap from the game can be heard on the Keast Auto Center High School Basketball Scoreboard Show from 9:30 p.m. until 11 on KMA 960 and KMA-FM 99.1. The complete interview with Coach Schafer can be heard below.