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Hawks hold off Bobcat comeback

Armonniey Thomas

ANKENY — The Marshalltown boys’ basketball team had to travel the long and winding comeback trail at Ankeny on Friday night, but the rocky road stopped short of the Bobcats’ destination.

Ankeny outscored Marshalltown 11-5 in the final 3 minutes, 20 seconds of Friday’s CIML contest, overcoming the Bobcats’ come-from-behind efforts in a 49-44 Hawk triumph.

Marshalltown (1-6) scored nine-straight points to erase an eight-point deficit to lead 39-38 with 3:20 left in the game, but Ankeny (3-3) stepped up to meet the challenge.

The Hawks shot 5-for-7 from the free-throw line down the stretch as MHS missed an opportunity to close the gap even farther. Trailing by three, 47-44, with 16 seconds left, Ankeny freshman Carson Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the Bobcats were whistled for a lane violation. Johnson capitalized on the second chance, making both free-throw attempts, and Marshalltown’s uprising came up short.

“We’ve been in a lot of close ones now, so we’re just learning and getting better every single time one of these happens,” MHS head coach Michael Appel said. “We’re hoping to obviously take what it is and learn from it every game.”

Armonniey Thomas and Prince Jallah led the Bobcats with 11 points apiece, while Grant Greazel and Drake Kapayou both tallied 10 points.

“We missed a lot of open looks tonight, a lot of them I thought were good shots,” Appel said. “Sometimes they were early in the possession but they were good shooters taking good shots.

“You can’t control makes and misses but you can control how hard you play and they did a really good job of that tonight.”

Thomas was held scoreless for two and a half quarters before breaking into the scoring chart on a back-door cut midway through the third. He made back-to-back buckets to give Marshalltown its only lead of the second half, 39-38, before Ankeny answered with an 8-0 run of its own.

“The effort was there for [Thomas], he’s very competitive, he wants to win and he’s going to play as hard as he can to get that done,” Appel said. “He couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively because of early foul trouble, couldn’t get into a groove, but when that happens other guys have to step up.”

Ryan Crandall scored a game-high 16 points to lead a balanced Ankeny lineup. Braden Simonsen scored eight points and JJ Kohl had seven more, both coming off the bench to make key offensive contributions.

The Bobcats return home to face rival Ames on Tuesday night at the Roundhouse.

Ankeny 49, Marshalltown 44

At Ankeny

MARSHALLTOWN (1-6) — Armonniey Thomas 5 1-2 11, Grant Greazel 4 0-0 10, Drake Kapayou 3 2-2 10, Prince Jallah 5 0-0 11, Isaiah Borgos 1 0-0 2, Ivan Alvarado 0 0-0 0, Justin Melde 0 0-0 0, Dwight Joar 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18 3-4 44.

ANKENY (3-3) — Matt Stueckradt 1 0-0 3, Ryan Crandall 7 2-3 16, Carson Johnson 1 2-2 4, Brayden Drea 1 1-2 4, Brady McCullough 1 1-2 3, Bentor Neyail 2 0-0 4, Sam Parkinson 0 0-0 0, Kole Wehde 0 0-0 0, Maddox Ward 0 0-0 0, Braden Simonsen 3 2-2 8, JJ Kohl 3 1-2 7. TOTALS 19 9-13 49.

MHS 10 7 10 17 — 44

ANKENY 14 8 10 17 — 49

3-Point Goals–MHS 5 (Greazel 2, Kapayou 2, Jallah), Ankeny 2 (Stueckradt, Drea). Team Fouls–MHS 16, Ankeny 9. Fouled out–Thomas.

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