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No. 3 Dragons dodge Bobcat upset

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - Marshalltown junior guard Armonniey Thomas draws a foul against Johnston defender Reid Grant, right, in the first half of Tuesday’s game at the Roundhouse. Thomas scored a game-high 22 points but the Bobcats lost to the third-ranked Dragons, 62-56.

For 29 minutes, Marshalltown was toe-to-toe with another top-5 opponent. The Bobcats again had a chance to pull off a home upset of a ranked team. And once again, the Bobcats came up just short.

The Bobcats have been a ‘nearly’ team most of the season in a difficult CIML Iowa Conference, pushing Centennial to the limit at home, beating Ames and nearly beating Des Moines North Monday night. But Tuesday was a golden chance to beat the Class 4A No. 3 Johnston Dragons, and the Bobcats were in the drivers’ seat for most of the second half before late turnovers led to a 62-56 Dragons victory.

The Bobcats (3-11) did a solid job defensively of taking the Dragons’ (7-1) leading scorer, Reid Grant, out of the game, as he finished scoreless. The Bobcats were undone by Trey Lewis (21 points) and Carter Borwick (16 points) in the fourth quarter.

Coach Michael Appel said it was bittersweet given how well the Bobcats played.

“Our guys’ effort was great tonight,” Appel said. “I’m never going to fault that. We played really really hard, but it just comes down to executing down the stretch and doing those things we need to do to win games.”

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

Marshalltown trailed early on but led 15-11 at the end of the first quarter. The team’s first nine points came on 3-pointers in what was to become a theme throughout the night.

The Bobcats were on fire from beyond the arc, hitting 13 of 23 3-point attempts and hitting threes at crucial moments of the game to keep the team ahead. The third quarter was where Marshalltown grabbed control of the contest and had the Dragons on the ropes, taking a 40-34 lad into the final eight minutes and, ever so briefly, taking a 43-34 lead early in the fourth.

The Bobcats were shooting so well, in fact, that Johnston switched to a 1-3-1 zone and tried to trap Marshalltown ball-handlers in the half-court. Appel said it’s the first time he’s seen the Dragons run the 1-3-1 all season long.

Armonniey Thomas led the Bobcats again in scoring with 22 points and led the team in rebounds with eight. Isaiah Borgos scored 13 points. Drake Kapayou hit four 3-pointers and scored 12 points. Grant Greazel hit three from behind the arc for nine points.

Late in the game, the Bobcats began to turn the ball over against Johnston pressure and handed the Dragons the impetus to come back and take a 57-55 lead with less than two minutes left. Marshalltown wouldn’t get the lead back.

Appel said the mistakes were more self-inflicted than anything else.

“We had some tough turnovers there where I didn’t think they were dictating too much of that,” Appel said. “It was more of us kind of being a little timid, and we can’t do that.”

The Bobcats will feel the hurt of two straight close losses to good opponents, but the team is much better than at the beginning of the season, Appel said. Now, the Bobcats just have to get across the finish line more often.

Their next chance is Friday night against the Ankeny Hawks at the MHS Roundhouse.

Johnston 62, Marshalltown 56

JOHNSTON (7-1) — Trey Lewis 8 1-2 21, Steven Kramer 2 6-8 11, Reid Grant 0 0-0 0, Carter Borwick 6 2-3 16, Max Roquet 4 1-5 9, Jacob Runyan 0 0-0 0, Andrew Pender 0 0-0 0, Masen Ryan 2 0-0 5, Tyler Kronlage 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 22 10-18 62.

MARSHALLTOWN (3-11) — Armonniey Thomas 5 9-10 22, Grant Greazel 3 0-0 9, Drake Kapayou 4 0-0 12, Prince Jallah 0 0-0 0, Isaiah Borgos 5 0-0 13, Justin Melde 0 0-1 0. TOTALS 17 9-11 56.

JOHNSTON 11 17 6 28 — 62

MHS 15 9 16 16 — 56

3-Point Goals–Johnston 8 (Lewis 4, Borwick 2, Kramer, Ryan), MHS 13 (Kapayou 4, Thomas 3, Greazel 3, Borgos 3). Team Fouls–Johnston 16, MHS 16. Fouled out–Jallah.

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