Warriors strain past Spartans
MESKWAKI SETTLEMENT — Once again, the Meskwaki boys’ basketball team won an Iowa Star Conference South Division game by a much closer margin than expected. And once again, it left head coach Garrett Bear frustrated — particularly with the team’s defense.
“It is what it is, you know?” Bear said after the Warriors held off Collins-Maxwell 63-50 on Tuesday. “When you give people open looks, when you don’t get a hand up and when you have bad rotations on defense, you don’t recognize their two scorers and decide not to help or not to rotate on them, that’s what happens. Once they get going, it’s hard to get stops.”
It was both sides of the ball that gave Meskwaki fits early on. The Warriors (11-3, 8-0 Iowa Star South) sat starting guards Osceola Tyon and Larnell Bear in the first half for what Coach Bear said was “disciplinary issues,” handing a start to sophomore Wyatt Kapayou and junior Dayvin Guevara. As both of those players are wings, rather than primary ball-handlers, this left the Warriors with only Taurice Grant (at less than 100 percent with a knee injury) initiating offense for the first 16 minutes of game action against a packed-in Collins-Maxwell (5-12, 4-6).
The offense sputtered a little bit, and when Grant was briefly out of the game while getting a sore right shoulder attended to, the offense was run by Kapayou and wing Evan Nelson. The result was a 21-20 halftime lead and a subpar performance all-around for the Warriors.
The second half was better offensively, as the use of Tyon and Grant in a free-roaming baseline role against Collins-Maxwell’s zone helped open up the Meskwaki offense. Tyon led all scorers with 21 points, while Grant scored 15. Tiernan Wanatee scored 11 points, with nine coming in the first half.
In the fourth quarter, after a run of three Collins-Maxwell 3-pointers helped tie the game at 46 leading to a Meskwaki timeout, the Warriors were able to create some turnovers and fast-break points to get back in front before Tyon and Grant put the offense into gear and helped the team pull away. The Warriors were comfortable in the final four minutes and had their best stretch of the game to close out what was not a typical performance, Bear said.
But still, Bear said, there’s a lot of work to be done for this Warriors team.
“At some point, we’ve gotta be honest,” Bear said. “The deeper we go into the season, we’ve got to understand that if we’re the team we think we are, we need to be better. We need to put it on the court and we need to show it consistently, because when we get to that level we’re gonna have to play four quarters. It can’t be that we’re good in the first quarter, we come back in the third and in the fourth we’re just trying to hold on. It can’t be that.”
This was Meskwaki’s sixth-straight victory, and as things stand the Warriors are walking their way to another regular-season Iowa Star South title. But after losing two games away from the state tournament last season, this is a team with high expectations. They’ll face plenty of tests before the postseason with games upcoming against teams like GMG, Gladbrook-Reinbeck and East Marshall.
Up next for the Warriors, though, is a road trip to Colo-NESCO Friday night.
Meskwaki 63, Collins-Maxwell 50
COLLINS-MAXWELL (5-11, 4-6) — Austin Kepple 5 0-0 11, Caleb Dvorak 1 0-0 2, Mason Markley 8 0-2 19, Weston Kahler 1 0-0 3, Luke Huntrods 4 0-0 9, Jace Huntrods 2 2-2 6, Brayden Bartleson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 21 2-4 50.
MESKWAKI (11-3, 8-0) — Taurice Grant 7 1-2 15, Dayvin Guevara 1 1-2 3, Evan Nelson 2 1-2 5, Wyatt Kapayou 1 0-0 2, Tiernan Wanatee 5 0-0 11, Osceola Tyon 9 0-0 21, Larnell Bear 1 1-2 4, Bishop Chavez 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 27 4-8 63.
C-M 7 13 15 15 — 50
MESKWAKI 12 9 22 20 — 63
3-Point Goals–C-M 6 (Markley 3, Kepple, Kahler, L. Huntrods), Meskwaki 5 (Tyon 3, Bear, Wanatee). Team Fouls–C-M 14, Meskwaki 10. Fouled out–none.