West Marshall whips AGWSR in opener
STATE CENTER — It took a little while for the West Marshall boys basketball team to get warmed up on Friday night in its season opener against AGWSR, but once the Trojans got things figured out they poured in points in a hurry.
After the Cougars had jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the first quarter, West Marshall scored the final 12 points of the period and outscored AGWSR 30-5 to close out the first half with a 35-14 lead at halftime.
Trojans head coach Paul deNeui said he wasn’t surprised to see his guys start the game off a little rusty, but he could tell quickly they would figure things out.
“It was the first game so our boys were a little tight to begin with but once we settled down and started going I could tell we were ready to go,” deNeui said.
What sparked the run in the first quarter to close things our were two corner threes by senior Alex Dickey, and in the second quarter sophomore Peyton Pope nailed three more 3-pointers to help the lopsided scoring.
As a whole, the Trojans dropped in 11 3-pointers, led by Pope’s five, and deNeui said his team’s ability to shoot the 3-ball and their relative experience this season will make them dangerous moving forward.
“We are pretty experienced this year, so that’s a big thing for us,” he said. “We have guys that can shoot on any given night, so people are going to have to respect us all the way around, or at least we hope they will.”
Pope was the leading scorer for West Marshall with 21 points, followed by Beau Coberley’s 17.
Though they scored quite a bit in the win, the story of the Trojan’s win was definitely their defensive intensity. West Marshall had eight steals and 22 defensive rebounds against AGWSR (1-1) while holding the Cougars to only 13 total made field goals.
“That’s our major emphasis because we aren’t the tallest team out here so our major emphasis is to learn to shut down people, take away their perimeter shots and so forth and work hard on defending the post area and not letting a team get a second shot,” deNeui said. “We knew if we can hold them off and not let them get second shots we have chances to win ball games.”
AGWSR head coach Russ Banzhaf said the game started alright for his guys, but as the Trojans started rolling his guys tried to play their game, rather than what they work on in practice.
“We panicked a little bit, we knew we didn’t want to get into a running game with them but we did,” he said. “We have a lot of inexperienced kids, we lost seven of our top eight from last year so we really have two lettermen back. We just played their style of game and we can’t do that, that was our biggest thing. Give them credit, they forced us into playing the way they wanted to play and hopefully we will get better next time we meet after Christmas.”
Despite not scoring in the double digits in either of the first two quarters, the Cougars did manage to get 10 points in each of the third and fourth quarters, showing a little bit of growth even when facing a lopsided score.
Banzhaf said he wanted his guys to put in some work even though the game was out of hand, and he was proud that they met that challenge.
“I thought in the second half we came out and battled and tried to get better, that was our whole goal was to try and get better in the second half,” he said.
Though they held their first opponent to only 35 points, deNeui said his team isn’t quite where they need to be on the defensive end, and he wants to see them continue to improve as the season progresses.
“We are still not where I want to be on defense. I understand what the score was tonight but defensively we are still not there,” deNeui said. “We’ve got some things to work on like learning how to cut people off, taking better angles and taking away drives. Our weak-side help wasn’t too good at times tonight so we’ve got a ways to go but I am pleased with our first performance.”
Next up for both teams, West Marshall heads to Jewell today to take on South Hamilton, while AGWSR hosts Gladbrook-Reinbeck for its home opener on Tuesday.
West Marshall 71, AGWSR 35
At State Center
AGWSR (1-1, 0-1) — Alex Hames 3 2-2 11, Alec Stahl 1 1-1 3, Luke Starr 2 1-1 5, Tanner Weichers 1 0-0 2, Ethan Ubben 1 0-0 2, Keon Hoffman 0 0-0 0, Jaden Penning 1 0-0 2, Brady Fisher 0 0-0 0, Liam Stubbe 2 1-1 5, Titan Opperman 0 0-0 0, Sawyer Heitland 2 0-0 4. TOTALS 13 5-8 34.
WEST MARSHALL (1-0, 1-0) — Beau Coberley 6 2-3 17, Cameron Bannister 2 2-2 6, Peyton Pope 8 0-0 21, Joe Halverson 3 0-0 7, Alex Dickey 2 0-0 6, Seth Diser 0 0-0 0, Jake Tollefson 1 0-0 2, Alex Auten 0 0-0 0, John Hohnstein 0 0-0 0, Josh Larson 2 1-6 5, Michael Doe 2 0-0 4, Jensen Evans 2 0-0 2, Alex Halter 0 1-2 1. TOTALS 27 6-13 71.
AGWSR 9 5 10 10 — 34
WM 17 18 23 13 — 71
3-Point Goals–AGWSR 3 (Hames 3), WM 11 (Pope 5, Coberley 3, Dickey 2, Halverson). Total Fouls–AGWSR 12, WM 10. Fouled Out–none.