Bobcats ease past East

Marshalltown boys’ basketball team wins three-straight for first time in 5 years

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Marshalltown’s Josh Melde (20) soars toward the basket as Des Moines East defender Devante Witherspoon (23) is called for a blocking foul during the first half of Tuesday’s CIML game at the Roundhouse. Melde had 11 points in the Bobcats’ 61-43 win.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Marshalltown’s Josh Melde (20) soars toward the basket as Des Moines East defender Devante Witherspoon (23) is called for a blocking foul during the first half of Tuesday’s CIML game at the Roundhouse. Melde had 11 points in the Bobcats’ 61-43 win.

The opportunity to win a third-straight game for the first time in five years didn’t escape the Bobcats.

Neither did Des Moines East.

The Marshalltown boys’ basketball team kept the Scarlets from completing any comeback they tried to start, finally pulling away late for a 61-43 victory in cross-CIML action Tuesday night at the Roundhouse.

The Bobcats (4-4) now carry the program’s first three-game winning streak since December 7, 10 and 11 of 2012 into the holiday break after getting a strong finish from their leading scorer. Luke Appel tallied 11 of his game-high 24 points in the final period, helping MHS push past winless East (0-7) in a rough outing that still yielded victory.

“It’s been a long time since we won three in a row, so give the kids credit,” said MHS head coach Scott Smith. “East hasn’t won a gane and that’s one that scares a coach to death. They always have athletes and they hung around.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Bobcat senior Luke Appel (50) gets the hoop and the harm from Des Moines East’s TK Dabner during the second half of Tuesday’s game at the Roundhouse.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Bobcat senior Luke Appel (50) gets the hoop and the harm from Des Moines East’s TK Dabner during the second half of Tuesday’s game at the Roundhouse.

“We weren’t real crisp out there, our timing was off, but I think it’s a step in the right direction that we’re growing as a program because when you can not play your best and still come out on top, that’s a great sign you’re making progress.”

The Bobcats got out to a solid start with three 3-pointers in the first period, including two for Bennett O’Hare, but Des Moines East’s ragged play slowed Marshalltown’s momentum. MHS went into halftime leading 23-15 before eventually generating some rhythm in the second half.

Appel sat for nearly two minutes of the third quarter after collecting his third personal foul, but his return to the lineup was an instant boon for the Bobcats. He scored seven points in a 9-3 surge for Marshalltown, and Conner Beaty got five in a row to push the advantage to 42-31 going into the fourth frame.

MHS finally heeded coach Smith’s advice as Appel took over in the paint against a shorter group of Scarlet defenders.

“When we had to, we made plays,” Smith said. “We just had to keep it simple. Luke really stepped up in the fourth quarter, the guys got him the basketball and we made some free throws.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

“When you haven’t won too many games the last couple years, the clock never runs fast enough and you can never have a big enough lead.”

Marshalltown never trailed, finally breaking free of East down the stretch.

“We’re on a three-game winning streak and probably should have won a few more, but it feels pretty good and hopefully we can come back and keep winning,” said Appel. “We’re all feeling really confident and feel like we can play with anyone so we should have a good second half of the season.”

Josh Melde contributed 11 points to the Bobcats’ cause, while O’Hare finished with six, Beaty had five and both Makeer Kuony and Sunday Arou added four points off the bench.

Devante Witherspoon paced Des Moines East with 12 points and Scott Cooper had 10 more.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

Marshalltown 61, Des Moines East 43

At Marshalltown

DM EAST (0-7) — Scott Cooper 4 0-0 10, James Jefferson 0 2-4 2, Taryn Anderson 2 0-0 6, Derrick Troncoso 0 0-0 0, Wil Burt 2 4-6 9, Osdy Villegas 0 0-0 0, Isaiah Dameron 0 0-0 0, Davion Turner 0 0-0 0, Rashad Madyun 0 0-0 0, TK Dabner 1 0-0 2, Devante Witherspoon 5 0-0 12, Brennan Baker 1 0-0 2, Alex Tiengkam 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 15 6-10 43.

MARSHALLTOWN (4-4) — Austin Shomo 1 1-4 3, Josh Melde 4 2-4 11, Bennett O’Hare 2 0-0 6, Jacob Smith 1 0-0 2, Luke Appel 7 10-14 24, Tyrell Davis 0 0-0 0, Conner Beaty 2 0-0 5, Sam Irwin 0 0-0 0, Luke Smith 1 0-0 2, Reid Nennig 0 0-0 0, Blake Trowbridge 0 0-0 0, Ryan Bates 0 0-0 0, Makeer Kuony 2 0-0 4, Sunday Arou 2 0-0 4. TOTALS 22 13-22 61.

DM EAST 7 8 16 12 — 43

MHS 15 8 19 19 — 61

3-Point Goals–DM East 7 (Cooper 2, Witherspoon 2, Anderson 2, Burt), MHS 4 (O’Hare 2, Beaty, Melde). Total Fouls–DM East 16, MHS 11. Fouled Out–none.