Late surge lifts No. 1 Waukee over MHS

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown senior Sunday Arou, right, goes strong to the basket while Waukee defender Dylan Jones contests during the second quarter of the Bobcats’ 52-32 loss to the Warriors on Friday in the Roundhouse. Arou had a team-high 11 points for MHS.

For 29 minutes on Friday in the Roundhouse, the Marshalltown boys basketball team had Class 4A No. 1 Waukee on upset alert in their CIML Iowa Conference showdown.

The Bobcats traded blows back and forth with the highly-touted Warriors and stood tall, trailing just 32-27 with five minutes left in the game. Over the next two minutes, however, Waukee would turn a few MHS mistakes into big plays, as it turned a five-point lead into an 18-point lead at 45-27 by the three-minute mark.

The Warriors would go on to beat the Bobcats 52-32, and Marshalltown boys head coach Michael Appel said ultimately his team did themselves in by getting away from what made them successful.

“We got a little quick with some of our shots, and that was something we talked about not being able to do because they are so good at taking advantage of those and getting it out and going and getting it to their guys who can knock down shots,” Appel said. “We didn’t do a good enough job covering their shooters tonight, there were way too many open looks. A huge emphasis was that we cannot leave these guys open, and we did that way too much tonight.”

At halftime Waukee (10-0, 6-0) held a 27-19 lead on the Bobcats (7-4, 3-3), but at the start of the third it was clear MHS had made a few adjustments.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown freshman Armonniey Thomas, middle, soars through the lane for a shot in the second half of the Bobcats’ 52-32 loss to Waukee on Friday in the Roundhouse.

The Bobcats decided to take as much clock off the clock on offense as possible, and with the Warriors content to let them run time they did just that. Bennett O’Hare spent a generous amount of time waiting just across halfcourt before getting into the offense, and when the Bobcats did start moving their pace was methodical, circling around until finding just the right opening to attack.

The strategy worked out, as Waukee scored just two points in the third and Marshalltown put up five, making it just a five-point game heading to the fourth, and Appel said at the time it was the right decision offensively.

“Obviously the fans didn’t like it too much, but that’s how I felt we could win,” Appel said. “We had to slow it down and we had to control the game, almost like a football game. We had to control the amount of time we had the ball and they had the ball, we wanted the majority of possessions and the reason we are doing that is because they are so good offensively. I felt like my best defense is my offense, and I am just going to hold it especially if they aren’t going to pressure us and we can hold it up top. I don’t care if we are down eight with six minutes left in the third quarter, that’s plenty of time to come back in the game and as you saw we got it to five.”

That pace continued for the first part of the fourth quarter, but every time it seemed Marshalltown was about to even the game up the Warriors were able to make a big shot.

Waukee finished with 10 makes from behind the 3-point line, seven of which came from the games’ leading scorer Tucker DeVries, who finished with 23 points.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

In the fourth quarter alone DeVries hit from deep three times, while Payton Sandfort put one in himself on his way to scoring all 10 of his points for the Warriors in the frame.

“That’s what cost us the game, the three ball. That’s what really hurt us, three after three,” Appel said. “We were trying to hang in there and all of a sudden they would hit another three. That’s kind of what beat us tonight.”

DeVries specifically seemed like he couldn’t miss, and it didn’t help that nearly every time he touched the ball he had a wide open view of the basket with no Marshalltown defender in sight.

“We lost him in transition a few times, which shouldn’t have happened,” Appel said of how DeVries got so open. “There was a miscommunication on one where two guys were guarding the same guy and he was left wide open. Things like that can’t happen, the ones where they are drawing stuff up for him and they execute and he gets an open look, we can live with those a little bit more. But the ones where we are leaving him open for no reason, that just can’t happen and he’s too good of a shooter.”

Though DeVries went for a season-high 23 points, Marshalltown did a good job holding 6-foot-8 senior and Waukee leading scorer Dylan Jones to just two points. Appel said all of that credit goes to Sunday Arou, who was matched up on Jones down low throughout the night.

“Sunday by far had his best game of the season, he was phenomenal tonight,” Appel said. “[Jones] is their best player, he is a dominant center, and Sunday held him in check all night with only two points. He was terrific, I couldn’t be more proud about how Sunday played.”

Arou not only was a defensive stalwart, he led Marshalltown in scoring with 11 points as well. Jacob Smith followed with nine points and Bennett O’Hare had five, all of which were in the first half.

Though his guys didn’t come away with a victory on Friday over the top-ranked Warriors, Appel said they can still move forward knowing they have what it takes to compete against some of the best teams in the state.

“You’ve got to use that as motivation and just getting better on a daily basis,” he said. “A lot of those breakdowns were us just not communicating on defense, we went through all of their sets so it wasn’t like they didn’t know what was coming, it was just a matter of communicating and breakdowns on that aspect.”

Marshalltown returns to the court on Tuesday with a road game at Des Moines Lincoln, starting at 7:45 p.m.

Waukee 52, Marshalltown 32

At Marshalltown

WAUKEE (10-0, 6-0) — Dylan Jones 1 0-0 2, Noah Hart 3 1-2 8, Andrew Curran 1 0-0 2, Dante Jenkins 0 0-0 0, Michael Vicente 2 0-1 5, Tucker DeVries 8 0-0 23, Payton Sandfort 4 1-1 10, Jackson Payne 0 0-0 0, Trey Schaller 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 20 2-4 52.

MARSHALLTOWN (7-4, 3-3) — Armonniey Thomas 1 0-0 2, Bennett O’Hare 1 3-3 5, Jacob Smith 3 2-2 9, Will Van Buren 0 3-4 3, Sunday Arou 4 0-0 11, Austin Shomo 0 0-0 0, Gok Arou 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 10 8-9 32.

WAUKEE 10 17 2 23 — 52

MHS 9 10 5 8 — 32

3-Point Goals–Waukee 10 (DeVries 7, Hart, Sandfort, Vicente), MHS 4 (S. Arou 3, Smith). Total Fouls–Waukee 11, MHS 13. Fouled Out–O’Hare, Van Buren.