MHS tops Ankeny for first opening victory since 2011

ANKENY — The Marshalltown boys’ basketball team won its season opener for the first time since head coach Scott Smith’s debut at the helm of the Bobcats, beating Ankeny 57-47 on Friday night.

Marshalltown last began the season on the winning side of the scoreboard with a 93-73 triumph at Indianola on Nov. 29, 2011. MHS was eventually credited with a win over Des Moines Hoover in the first game of the 2012-13 campaign via forfeit after losing to the Huskies on the court.

This victory arrived in an unconventional fashion for the Bobcats — with defense. Marshalltown, which has allowed an average of at least 61.68 points per game since the 2012-13 season, held the host Hawks to no more than 13 points per quarter until a faster-paced finish as Ankeny attempted its fourth-period comeback.

“The kids really played well from the opening tip,” Smith said, “and that started on the defensive end. They made a committment and a re-commitment in the offseason and tonight was a testament to all their hard work and the fruits of their labor.

“They never panicked, they remained poised and did what they had to do to win.”

MHS (1-0) led 15-13 after one quarter and 24-17 at the half, leading by as many as 13 points in the third quarter before seeing that deficit trimmed to six early in the fourth. In spite of a 21-for-35 free-throw shooting performance, the Bobcats had enough to hang on.

Luke Appel led the Bobcats with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Josh Melde finished with 15 points, Austin Shomo had 10 and Jacob Smith added nine. The quartet accounted for all 57 of Marshalltown’s points.

Ben Lyon and Jaxon Smith had 12 points apiece to lead Ankeny (0-2).

Marshalltown’s second week of the season is a busy one, starting with Tuesday’s home opener against Ankeny Centennial. The Bobcats visit Newton next Thursday and entertain Fort Dodge on Friday.