’Cats can’t cling to upset bid
Marshalltown’s fast start fades against eighth-ranked Ankeny, 71-65
From the first tip of Friday night’s Marshalltown-Ankeny boys’ basketball game at the MHS Roundhouse, the Bobcats were up for the challenge of facing the No. 8 Hawks. Two early 3-pointers from Grant Greazel, baskets from Armonniey Thomas and Drake Kapayou put the Bobcats ahead 11-4 and forced an Ankeny timeout.
Marshalltown pushed the Hawks from start to finish, but the size and physicality of the Hawks wore down the Bobcats, 71-65, dropping the Bobcats to 7-6 on the season and 2-5 in the CIML Iowa Conference. Ankeny improved to 10-2 and 5-2, respectively.
MHS head coach Michael Appel said there were a lot of positives to take away from the team’s showing.
“I thought it was pretty good for the most part,” Appel said. “We shared the ball well, we took some good shots, we pushed in transition when we got stops. Just the biggest thing was, they just hurt us inside too much.
“Really made it tough for us to win that game based on that alone.”
Foul trouble played a factor for the Bobcats early and often Friday, with Huston picking his second foul up in the first quarter and Prince Jallah following him onto the bench with two early in the second quarter. Jaxson Eisenbarth, who hit three 3-pointers, had three fouls in the first half but was tasked with defending the 6-foot-6 JJ Kohl in the post. Kohl scored 16 points off the bench and was a constant nuisance posting up, hitting mid-range jumpers and making hay on the glass. The Hawks scored 12 second-chance points and made things plenty difficult for Marshalltown on a 12-0 run in the second quarter and the team’s final spurt to take a two-possession lead in the fourth quarter.
Still, though, the Bobcats led 36-35 at the halftime break. But a 5-0 run right out of the break put the Bobcats behind — where they would remain for much of the second half, within a possession or two but never able to inch ahead.
A 30-point showing from Armonniey Thomas was the highlight of a strong offensive showing for Marshalltown with shot selection that Appel praised, while pointing out the multiple open looks the Bobcats missed in the second half. Momentum could have changed if any of them went in, but halfway through the fourth the score was tied at 54 and Marshalltown was in with a fighting chance. Kapayou scored nine and Jallah scored six.
Ryan Crandall’s 14-point second half was key to the Hawks holding onto the lead. The Bobcats did a solid job on the perimeter, but Crandall pushed the ball in transition and got himself in position for second-chance opportunities. Appel emphasized just how important the glass is to games like this one, where the result is up in the air.
“I’m proud of how our guys fought and their effort,” Appel said. “Just a few things we’ve got to clean up as far as making sure we secure rebounds. You just can’t allow them to have 12 second-chance points in a game this close.”
A late technical against the Hawks provided Marshalltown with one last lifeline in the final minute of action, but the Bobcats couldn’t capitalize. Now they wait until Monday’s trip to Fort Dodge, where the Bobcats will look to bounce back from a missed opportunity for a signature win.
Ankeny 71, Marshalltown 65
ANKENY (10-2, 5-2) — Ryan Crandall 7 3-4 17, Carson Johnson 2 4-4 9, Karson Wehde 2 0-0 6, Lio Aguirre 5 1-1 11, Braden Simonsen 1 2-3 4, Maddox Ward 0 0-0 0, Alex Aguirre 2 4-5 8, JJ Kohl 5 6-8 16. TOTALS 24 20-25 71.
MARSHALLTOWN (7-6, 2-5) — Armonniey Thomas 8 14-17 30, Grant Greazel 2 0-0 6, Drake Kapayou 2 5-6 9, Prince Jallah 3 0-0 6, Dalen Huston 1 0-0 2, Drake Polley 0 0-0 0, Brayden Weatherly 1 0-0 3, Jaxson Eisenbarth 3 0-0 9. TOTALS 20 19-23 65.
ANKENY 15 20 17 19 — 71
MHS 23 15 10 17 — 65
3-Point Goals–Ankeny 3 (Wehde 2, Johnson), MHS 6 (Eisenbarth 3, Greazel 2, Weatherly). Team Fouls–Ankeny 21, MHS 26. Fouled Out–L.Aguirre. Technical Fouls–L.Aguirre, Simonsen.