Third-quarter collapse sinks Bobcats
At halftime the Marshalltown boys basketball team was up 28-24 against Mason City in their Class 4A Substate 2 opener in the Roundhouse on Monday night.
The Bobcats had played their game and frustrated the Mohawks on the defensive end while hitting enough shots to stay in front on offense. That all changed in the third quarter, however, as some breakdowns offensively for MHS led to runout baskets for Mason City, and once the momentum shifted the Mohawks got their shot going on their way to winning the period, 22-9.
Marshalltown made a couple of final pushes in the fourth quarter but for every inroad the Bobcats made, Mason City answered, and the Mohawks walked away with a 63-54 victory.
MHS boys head coach Michael Appel said the lead Mason City built in the third quarter was too much for his guys to overcome.
“We had a couple of turnovers and those ended up going the other way and they got some momentum,” Appel said. “That’s really what it was, we really struggled to get in a flow again back on the offensive end and they were getting into a flow. They were making shots, they were moving the ball and getting easy buckets in transition. Kind of all the stuff we did really well in that first half — keeping them in check, keeping them in the half court, not getting them out in transition — we didn’t do a very good job of that in the start of the third and they made their run.”
At one point in the fourth quarter, the Mohawks (8-13) had built a 16-point advantage, but seniors Sunday Arou and Jacob Smith both hit on back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Bobcats (8-12) down 10.
After that quick burst Marshalltown couldn’t get the game any closer, and Appel said that was because of the lapses on the other end of the floor.
“We could never get that stop when we needed to and, give them credit, they have some guys that can score the ball and they were making some good play,” he said. “That’s what it comes down to, we had to have a more complete game and that third quarter really bit us there.”
In his final game in a Bobcat uniform, Smith went down swinging. He had a game-high 21 points and scored 12 of Marshalltown’s 26 points in the second half, including seven of 17 in the fourth quarter.
“Honestly I just didn’t want our season to end,” Smith said of his efforts down the stretch. “I just love every second of playing with my teammates this year, and I can’t thank them enough for that. I wanted to continue the season as long as possible, obviously we didn’t have the outcome that we wanted but it was really fun to play with my friends and my teammates out there every night.”
Appel said seeing Smith try to keep his team in it as the clock wound down wasn’t shocking to him in the least.
“That’s what you expect from him, he’s just a kid that loves the game,” Appel said. “He’s been playing for four years at the varsity level and he’s just continued to get better and continued to work at his game. He has a chance and opportunity to play at the next level if he chooses to do that. He’s going to leave it all out there, do everything he can to win that basketball game.”
Behind Smith in scoring was two Mohawks, however, as Jarvorius Toney and Dylan Miller both finished with 17 points. Corey Miner finished with 11 and Carter Thomas 10 as well to give Mason City four starters in double figures.
Freshman Armonniey Thomas had 14 points in the game and after the first quarter he had 11 of the team’s 15 points, including a three right before the buzzer. Thomas wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter though. Arou and Austin Shomo both nearly reached the double figures with nine points.
Appel said in a way this game mirrored the Bobcats’ season, as Marshalltown started the year hot at 7-3 but lost nine of the final 10 games the rest of the way out.
“It was kind of how the season went, we just were not consistent enough,” he said. “It’s not the kids’ fault, they are trying as hard as they can and it’s just a learning experience. We hope to continue to get better and build on this.”
Before moving forward, Appel took one last look back at his senior class, the first group of seniors he’s coached in his first year on the job.
“The seniors were great this year, I couldn’t ask for a better group of seniors for my first year as a head coach,” he said. “They bought into what I was saying, they worked their tails off every single day and responded well to some hard coaching every now and then. I am proud of who they are and I am excited to see what the future holds for them because they are such great kids.”
Smith, being one of those seniors, said it’s hard to think that four years of playing varsity basketball — three of which were with his father, Scott, as head coach — are at an end.
“I loved every second, I gave it my all. I am so proud to be a Bobcat and play for this program, I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else,” Jacob said. “I loved every second, both with my dad being coach and coach Appel. They’ve helped me a lot, not just as a player but more importantly as making me a better person. I think that will help me in the future wherever I go.”
Though it wasn’t the end anyone in Marshalltown was hoping for, there is a silver lining to this season. Appel led this team to only its second eight-win season in the last seven years, and the combined 16 wins the program has in the past two seasons are one less than the wins from 2012-2017 combined.
Thomas as a freshman excelled in many spots, and with a senior class featuring players like Shomo, Will Van Buren, Kabba Pins and Gok Arou, Appel said the cupboard is far from bare moving forward.
“There were a lot of juniors and obviously Armonniey who got a lot of varsity experience, so you just have to build on that and just plug in some guys here and there from the lower levels,” Appel said. “It’s about continuing to work in the offseason to get better, I feel like we’ve got a good group of 15 to 20 kids that are willing to do that and focus on that and continue to get better. It’s a good feeling when you’ve got guys who love the game and want to continue to keep working at it and doing those things.
“It’s exciting to think about, it’s a sad night for the seniors and everyone obviously, this is not how we wanted it to end, but looking forward I think the future is bright here.”
Mason City 63, Marshalltown 54
MASON CITY (8-13) — Jarvorius Toney 7 1-4 17, Jeffrey Skogen Jr. 2 0-0 4, Dylan Miller 4 7-8 17, Corey Miner 4 2-3 11, Carter Thomas 4 1-2 10, Jake Kaune 0 0-0 0, Malek Wesley 0 0-0 0, Derek Dalen 0 0-0 0, Austin Richardson 1 2-5 4. TOTALS 22 13-22 63.
MARSHALLTOWN (8-12) — Armonniey Thomas 5 1-2 14, Kabba Pins 0 0-0 0, Jacob Smith 7 4-4 21, Will Van Buren 0 1-2 1, Sunday Arou 4 0-0 9, Austin Shomo 3 0-0 9, Trevor Stamp 0 0-0 0, Gok Arou 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 19 6-8 54.
MASON CITY 11 13 22 17 — 63
MHS 15 13 9 17 — 54
3-Point Goals–MC 6 (Toney 2, Miller 2, Miner, Thomas), MHS 10 (Thomas 3, Smith 3, Shomo 3, Arou). Total Fouls–MC 8, MHS 18. Fouled Out–none.