Colo-NESCO falls short against No. 6 Dunkerton
DES MOINES — The second of two high school games at the Wells Fargo Arena on Monday featured a matchup between a team predicted to be playing there again in March and a team hoping to bust into that equation, as the Colo-NESCO boys basketball team faced off with Class 1A No. 6 Dunkerton.
While the Raiders controlled much of the first three quarters, the Royals wouldn’t quite go away, surging to pull the game tight late in the fourth quarter before Dunkerton finally pulled away for good and secured a 59-48 victory.
Colo-NESCO head coach Patrick Wynja said there wasn’t just one issue that kept his guys from handing the Raiders their second loss of the season.
“We were tired and we were turning the ball over, and it was just a waterfall effect. The first half we couldn’t get anything to fall, especially inside,” he said. “We had good looks, but we just weren’t finishing, and you never know if it was just nervousness for here or what. That little run in the third quarter, it’s just amazing what happens when you let your guard down against a pretty good team.”
Matthew Hill led the Royals (10-6) with a game-high 20 points, though he could have had his second-straight 30 point effort had his shot found the bottom of the net more in the first half.
Wynja said even though Dunkerton (15-1) was doing everything outside of triple teaming the talented senior, Hill was still able to get inside position at will and caused nightmares for the Raiders’ defense.
“They were keying on him, and he did a great job still getting shots,” Wynja said. “He missed probably four bunnies in that first half alone, he needed to take just one more dribble on those and collect himself. Second half I thought he did a really good job, he was under control and two guys were on him every time he had the ball and they were collapsing, but he still did a good job.”
Jacob Clatt was next on the list with 10 points, all but two of which came in the second half. Clatt actually was at the line with less than three minutes left with a chance to cut the Dunkerton lead down to just six, but unfortunately he missed both free throws and the Raiders turned that around for two points of their own.
Wynja said Clatt’s second half was what they need from him, but he had to get on his post player at halftime because he wasn’t bringing a consistent effort in the first.
“I lit him up, I told him I expect way more than that, he just didn’t have the energy early,” Wynja said. “That’s the thing, once Jacob figures out how to play with intensity for a full game we will be in good shape.”
Philip Bower finished with six points on the night as well, though he too struggled with his shot, particularly inside the paint. Wynja said even though he didn’t score as much as normal, he was happy with the play from his guard.
“I thought Philip Bower did a really good job of finding guys and he was struggling with his shot inside too, and he usually makes those,” Wynja said. “If we weren’t getting good shots I’d be worried about this game, but we were getting good shots.”
Zach Johnson led the Raiders with 19 points, followed by Brady Happel with 16. Wynja said considering Dunkerton was coming off a win over Aplington-Parkersburg, the No. 7 team in 1A, he couldn’t be too upset with how tough his guys played one of the best teams in the state.
“I was happy for the most part, but it was just the little things. We never give up points on out of bounds plays, and we gave up eight today on wide-open layups,” he said. “That’s just a mental lapse on what we do defensively, the pieces are there, we are going to be good down the stretch as soon as the mental fortitude kicks in with this group.”
The Royals return to Iowa Star Conference South Division play on Friday night when they host GMG, and these final two games are crucial for securing the division title, as they are currently tied with Baxter with a 7-1 division record. Colo-NESCO and the Wolverines will face off starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, then the Royals host Baxter next Tuesday for a game that could be a defacto division championship.
Dunkerton 59, Colo-NESCO 48
At Des Moines
DUNKERTON (15-1) — Zach Johnson 8 1-1 19, Travis Schake 1 0-0 2, Brady Happel 6 4-7 16, Kaleb Westendorf 4 1-2 12, Dalton Burch 2 1-2 5, Brady Stone 1 0-0 3, Matt Wheeler 0 0-0 0, Riley Tisue 0 0-0 0, Brandon Nguyen 1 0-0 2, Brody Rygel 0 0-0 0, Aaron Garbes 0 0-0 0, Jared Salisbury 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 23 7-12 59.
COLO-NESCO (10-6) — Kelly Gray 0 1-2 1, Philip Bower 2 1-2 6, Sean Cutler 2 0-0 5, Matthew Hill 10 0-0 20, Jacob Clatt 5 0-2 10, Luke Hill 0 0-0 0, Brighton Clatt 0 0-0 0, Jack McKinney 0 0-0 0, Mason Lytle 2 0-0 4, Francis Bower 0 0-0 0, Bryce Niemeyer 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 22 2-6 48.
Dunkerton 17 13 11 18 — 59
Colo-NESCO 9 8 12 19 — 48
3-Point Goals–Dunkerton 6 (Westendorf 3, Johnson 2, Stone), C-N 2 (Bower, Cutler). Total Fouls–Dunkerton 9, C-N 15. Fouled Out–none.