Adams Central coach Zac Foster recognized what he had in David Bohlen before the senior ever played a varsity game.
“When he came in as a freshman, we knew he was good,” Foster said. “We were hoping not to put him in that position, but after about a week of practice, we figured out he’s our best player, he’s got to start.”
Bohlen had 17 points in his varsity debut, and has been a reliable scorer ever since.
Last Saturday against Wood River, Bohlen, now 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, put together a record-breaking night.
He needed 17 points to break the school’s career scoring record. Bohlen had that before halftime, and went on to finish with 41 points, which broke the school’s single-game scoring mark. That record stood since 1979, when Greg Kay scored 40.
“I never even considered he’ll get the (single-)game record, too,” Foster said. “It’s one of those things you hope would happen, but you can’t force it. But once he got going, he just never cooled down.”
Bohlen, who scored 21 in the first half, said his previous high was 34. He finished 13 of 26 from the field Saturday, including 7 of 17 from 3-point range. He hit all eight of his free throws.
“Teammates kept getting me the ball,” said Bohlen, who has 1,284 career points. “I was taking shots that I always take, I was just making more of them.”
Bohlen, who also holds the school’s single-game and career 3-point records, averaged between 12.0 and 15.8 points per game his first three seasons. But this year’s Patriots will rely on bigger offensive nights from their point guard.
Adams Central featured a balanced offense last year as it won 24 games and reached the Class C-1 state final. But it graduated five of its top six players — Bohlen is the only one back.
“I have to shoot a little more than last year,” Bohlen said.
So far through four games, Bohlen’s scoring average has spiked. He is averaging 26.8 per game and has scored at least 25 in the past three games after being held to 15 in the season- opener against Aurora, one of Class B’s top teams.
“He’s paramount to our success this year. He’s got experience and he can carry a team,” Foster said. “As coaches, we’ve talked to him that he’ll need to be more selfish this year and shoot the ball more.
“He’s just a phenomenal, phenomenal shooter. He can shoot off the dribble and has really good range. If you give him space, he is absolutely lethal shooting it.”
With limited experience elsewhere in their lineup, the Patriots know Bohlen will be the focus of opposing defenses. But Bohlen said he’s seen that in the past and knows that will allow more opportunities for his teammates.
Foster said that was the case against Centura last Friday, when Adams Central scored 28 in the third period to pull away for a 68-43 win.
“It’s the ultimate sign of respect for that player and I think he understands that,” Foster said of the attention Bohlen receives.
Adams Central has two games this weekend as it goes to Ord on Friday and hosts Gibbon on Saturday.