Posted On: 02/16/17 10:29 PM
Urbandale — With just more than minute a to go, PCM led by four points, had all the momentum after a furious fourth quarter comeback, and seemed in complete control of this district semifinal. But then the stars of East Marshall regained control, and shone brightly when it mattered most.
With 1:03 left in the game, East Marshall senior Dru Boliver connected on his sixth 3 of the game, and knifed into PCM’s four point lead, cutting it to just one. Then a Tyler DeBondt steal led to a Zane Johnson triple for East Marshall, who after scoring six points in 23 seconds, held a two point advantage.
PCM had some grit too, and on its ensuing possession, sophomore Andrew VanRyswyk netted a nifty reverse layup, tying the game at 48 with 21 ticks to go.
But the final possession was brilliantly executed by East Marshall. And fittingly, it’s floor general DeBondt — one of the state’s best assist-men — lobbed a perfect pass to junior wing Zaine Leedom, who banked in an athletic game-winning bucket with 1.8 seconds showing on the clock.
East Marshall (16-5) advances to a district final against Des Moines Christian (18-4) next Tuesday night. Here’s the game-winner
— TJ Rushing (@TjRushing) February 17, 2017
East Marshall 12 7 20 11 — 50
PCM 14 8 12 14 — 48
East Marshall: Dru Boliver 18, Zane Johnson 15, Zaine Leedom 11, Eli Anderson 6.
PCM: Reed Worth 11, Jackson Thomas 11, Andrew VanRyswyk 10, Derek Brown 7, Mark Bruxvoort 5, Eli Sperfslage 4, Jackson Thomas 3.
What a surprise this junior forward was tonight. We could tell by his numbers that he’d be a good player, but he far exceeded our expectations, and should see a nice debut when in the 2018 rankings when they’re released later this month. He’s a long and athletic 6-foot-4 combo-forward (almost a mirror image of teammate Zaine Leedom), and he can step out and hit a 3-ball in addition to his ability to finish around the rim. He blocked a couple of shots tonight defensively, and hit the 3 with 40 seconds left to give his team a two-point lead. He’s a player.
Play of the Game: DeBondt to Leedom
This is an obvious choice, and even though there were several huge plays in the final two minutes by both teams, the game-winner from DeBondt to Leedom takes the cake. Props to East Marshall coach Adam Bauder for making the call, it was a wonderfully designed play. And DeBondt pitched a perfect pass to Leedom, who made the lay-in look easy, but it certainly was not. It was two stars making a big play when their team needed it most. It was clutch.
Best Offensive Performance: Zane Johnson
He was not the game’s leading scorer, that honor belongs to sharpshooter Dru Boliver, but he did flash the most diverse offensive skill-set. His three to give his team the lead late was his biggest shot, but his rebounding and scoring in the paint is the reason they were in it to begin with. On most night’s Zaine Leedom, who averages 19.4 points per game, would likely have earned this honor. But tonight was Johnson’s night.
He knocked down both of his 3-point attempts in the first half, and we urged him (via Twitter) to shoot more in the second half — well he did just that, and it worked. He knocked in two more 3s immediately to start the third quarter, and they were critical, the second giving his team it’s first lead in a long while. He later hit what, at that moment, was the biggest shot of the game when; with his team down four and 1:03 to go, he knocked in his sixth and final shot. All 18 of his points came from deep, and the six 3 performance was the best shooting night I’ve seen in person this winter.
Dru Boliver has knocked down both his 3 attempts, has 6 pts for EM — he should shoot more #iahsbkb
— TJ Rushing (@TjRushing) February 17, 2017
This kid is the definition if intangibles. He did not even score a point in the game, but made a huge impact. For one, he’s clutch; as evidenced by his late-game heroics (steal, lob). And two, he’s a floor-general; a careful and cerebral guard, who is deliberate and always makes the right pass. What he has can’t be taught, it’s innate, and he was key to this team winning tonight.
Best Underclassmen: Andrew VanRyswyk (PCM)
We were impressed with this big-bodied post throughout, but didn’t realize he was a sophomore until after the game — now we’re even more impressed. He scored 10 points for the Mustangs, and did it from deep and from down low. When his team was down two with 21 seconds to go, he maneuvered himself into a position to put in a nifty reverse lay-up, tying the game and sending the PCM fans into a frenzy. He’ll send the fans into a frenzy many more times before his career is done.
He may have been subdued a bit on the offensive side of the ball tonight (though he did hit the game-winning shot), but his defense is something that can’t be stymied. He’s got some of the longest arms of anyone in the state, and that causes problems for opponents. Whether on-the-ball or from help-side, Leedom was blocking shots, deflecting passes, and causing problems. He’s one of the most disruptive defenders in Iowa.
These guys were on the verge of pulling off what would have been a significant upset, and they did it with a young group of guys. The Mustangs had just one senior on its roster, that’s starting guard Mark Bruxvoort, who scored five points tonight. This team finished 11-12 this season with three of its six top scorers being underclassmen. They will be good next year, and maybe better the year after.
Best Player off the Bench: Derek Brown (PCM)
Brown is a freshman and he may have made some freshman mistakes late. But he’s a big body and he showed flashes of being a pretty good shooter. He lets it fly with confidence, and will certainly be a pivotal peice to this team for the next three seasons.
Story to Watch: East Marshall is the District Final
Des Moines Christian looms in the district final that will take place next Tuesday night in Ankeny, and they are a very good team. Good news for basketball fans in general: East Marshall is very good too. The Mustangs have been sensational since getting Zaine Leedom into the lineup in January, winners of 10 of their last 12. Des Moines Christian has one of the state’s best guards, senior Ben Juhl. Something’s got to give, it should be a highly entertaining game.