For those like Drew Cook who play both football and basketball for Regina, winning almost has become routine.
Cook scored 27 points to lead the undefeated Regina boys basketball team to a 66-57 victory over Wilton on Friday at Regina. The Regals improved to 6-0 with the victory. This winning streak comes on the heels of a football season in which Regina won its fourth consecutive state title, finished 14-0 overall and extended its winning streak to a state-record 56 games.
“We came into the season wanting to do the same thing we did in football,” said the 6-foot-5 Cook, who earned first-team all-state honors in Class 1A as a quarterback this fall. “It’s uncommon for a school to go undefeated in football and basketball. So that’s been our goal this year. I’m enjoying the ride. It’s been a great season so far.”
The second-ranked Regina girls basketball team has its own winning streak, improving to 6-0 with a 73-38 thrashing of Wilton in the first game Friday. Senior Katie Wick led three Regina players in double figures with 16 points. Senior Nicole Becker added 15 points on five 3-point baskets and senior Jenna Lehman contributed 14 points.
The Regina boys bolted to a 19-9 lead after the first quarter as Cook led the way with eight points. He also had two dunks in the first quarter, the second one coming on an ally-oop pass in which Cook soared high above the rim.
However, Cook sat out most of the second quarter after picking up two fouls. Wilton capitalized on his absence by outscoring Regina 17-12 in the second quarter, trimming the lead to 31-26 at halftime.
Cook scored the first six points for Regina in the third quarter, which ended with the Regals leading 47-37.
“We have to be ready to play without him because he scores a lot of points, and we need him to be a scorer for us,” Regina coach Randy Larson said of Cook. “But we have plenty of scorers on this team. I don’t think it’s a question of not being able to score without him. I just think that he is such an obvious focus for us that we just have to be a little more patient when he is not there.”
Sophomore guard Nick Phillips came off the bench to provide his usual defensive spark for Regina, but he also made three 3-point baskets and scored 12 points.
“I like coming off the bench and getting a feel for the game,” said Phillips, who also is a standout receiver and defensive back for the Regina football team. “I try to come in there and provide a spark on defense especially. I haven’t been shooting the ball great. But over the break I really focused on shooting, so today I got lucky and got a couple 3s to go down.”
Regina made only 12-of-22 free-throw attempts but compensated by making eight 3-point baskets, including two each by Cook and sophomore guard Ethan Suchomel.
Phillips knows there will be open looks from the perimeter with defenses so focused on trying to contain Cook.
“Drew is just a great player all-around,” Phillips said. “He rebounds and passes, and he’s a phenomenal scorer. But today it seemed like every time when they collapsed on him in the middle that he was just finding people. It’s fun to play with him because he’s such a great passer.”
Junior center Phil Arendt also had success finding his teammates for easy baskets. Arendt finished with eight assists, with Cook the beneficiary of several of them.
“It helps that he’s 6-foot-6 and has long arms,” Arendt said of Cook. “I can throw some wild passes that most people wouldn’t catch. It’s just fun playing with each other. We’ve played with each other for a long time, so I get a lot of passes in there that most people wouldn’t be able to do.”
Arendt also was a key contributor for the Regina football team as an offensive lineman.
“I don’t really think about it,” Arendt said when asked about the two winning streaks. “It’s two completely different sports. This is the first time we’ve done this in basketball for this long. So this feels good to keep winning.”
The Regina boys and girls basketball teams both will try to make it 7-0 when they face Camanche tonight in a doubleheader. Phillips also might have earned a promotion by then.
“Frankly, he probably should have a chance to start,” Larson said. “We’ve been rotating everybody in. He’ll get his chance pretty soon, maybe tomorrow night. He’s a superior athlete who really has made strides with how he plays the game.”
The Wilton boys team, which fell to 3-3, was led by senior Tyler Hetzler’s 25 points.
WILTON (57) – Tyler Hetzler 10 4-5 25, Javin Drake 3 3-4 10, Zach Randolph 1 0-0 3, Caleb Kaufmann 4 0-0 10, Tanner Poor 0 2-4 2, Jon Hennessee 3 1-1 7. Totals 21 10-14 57.
REGINA (66) – Drew Cook 10 5-8 27, Phil Arendt 3 0-0 6, Nathan Stenger 2 4-4 9, Conner Brown 0 0-1 1, Ethan Suchomel 2 0-0 6, Mike Sehl 2 0-2 4, Nick Phillips 4 1-3 12, Nick Ziniel 0 1-2 1. Totals 23 12-22 66.
3-point goals – Nick Phillips 3, Caleb Kaufmann 2, Drew Cook 2, Ethan Suchomel 2, Tyler Hetzler, Javin Drake, Zach Randolph, Nathan Stenger. Total fouls – Wilton 19, Regina 15. Fouled out – Caleb Kaufmann.