Raider boys shake slow start, pull away for 61-43 win
MAXWELL — Coming off a win in which it scored 93 points, the Collins-Maxwell-Baxter boys basketball team was understandably a little too fired up going into Tuesday night’s game.
The Raiders (4-8, 3-7 Heart of Iowa Conference) came out of the gate with turnover after turnover, but eventually settled down in the second and third quarters to to earn a 61-43 win over Saydel. An odd fourth quarter gave the Eagles a chance at a comeback, but CMB was able to effectively hold them off.
“What an ugly game. Thank God we can shoot the ball,” Raiders coach Gary Plunkett said. “We shot over 50 percent, but with how ugly it was, we’re lucky to come out with a win.”
The first few minutes of the game was a steady flow of CMB either missing its shots or throwing the ball out of bounds on overly excited passes. Junior Austin Moorman got the Raiders on the board at the 5:25 mark, cutting into an early 7-0 Saydel lead. Eagle junior Alex Gustafson poured in 10 in the frame and CMB trailed 14-8 with little momentum because of the turnovers piling up.
“That’s where it started,” Plunkett said. “We just couldn’t get things rolling or buy a bucket, and I think we had five turnovers in the first two minutes. Holy cow, that was not a good start.”
Raider sophomore Patrick Girard opened the second with a three-point play to gain some momentum, and CMB suddenly found itself in the bonus with 6:06 still left to play in the half. Once things finally calmed down, junior Zach Samson gave the Raiders their first lead of the game on a putback and CMB was off to the races after that.
Sophomore Bryce Kemp then scored on a putback of his own and sophomore Seth Balke made a few plays to help CMB close the half on a 14-2 run and grab a 31-22 going into the half. Just like that, the game completely shifted its direction.
“We get so antsy and the guys were excited and thinking they were just going to roll,” Plunkett said. “We just had to slow them down because everyone was going at 100 miles an hour.”
The third quarter belonged to Kemp as he scored eight of the team’s 14 points in the frame. Thanks to a 3-pointer from sophomore Tommy Galloway, an old-fashioned three-point play from Balke and some stout defense, the Raiders extended their lead to 45-30 going into the fourth. Gustafson had all eight of Saydel’s points in the quarter, but he didn’t score until around the 3:30 mark.
The fourth quarter became ugly in a different way as chippy play started popping up and resulted in a CMB technical. Despite neither team being able to find much rhythm, Galloway managed two early buckets to keep Saydel at bay. Despite their best efforts, Saydel just couldn’t shake the Raiders from their newfound lead.
“We started panicking when they put a press on us, so we just told them to be patient on offense,” Plunkett said. “You’ve got to be patient when you’re breaking the press, and I thought the boys did a nice job.”
Kemp finished with 16 points and nine rebounds to lead the Raiders, while Samson narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 14 boards. With that 93-point game and a little confidence gained from this victory, Plunkett is hoping the team can parlay that success into Friday night at Gilbert. The Tigers won the first matchup of the season by a 70-57 margin.
“We really think this is a golden time to pick up some steam with the schedule we have,” Plunkett said. “We’ve been doing some different rotations and trying to find guys their roles, and that’s helped us win some games.”
CMB 61, Saydel 43
S — 14 8 8 13 — 43
C — 8 23 14 16 — 61
S — Gustafson 22, Freeman 9, Walter 5, Sommers 3, Martin 1
C — Kemp 16, Galloway 10, Balke 9, Samson 9, Girard 7, Moorman 6, Huntrods 2, Stover 2