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Posted On: 11/29/17 7:00 AM
DES MOINES — When the game was tight and its result was in question, Des Moines Roosevelt just made more plays.
The Roughriders opened the season with a hotly-contested victory over Ames, 45-40, on Tuesday night on their home floor.
Roosevelt (1-0) was the more composed and tougher team throughout much the night while a young Ames team struggled through inconsistency. The Little Cyclones (0-1) had chances late, but were unable to capitalize.
After trailing for much of the second half, the Little Cyclones tied the game up with 1 minute, 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but Roosevelt’s Cade Moritz answered with a 3-pointer to put the Roughriders ahead. Ames’ next chance to take the lead came after the Roughriders missed the front-end of a one-and-one with 13.5 seconds to play and a one-point lead, but Mortiz snuck past a Little Cyclone to corral the rebound and get a put-back to get Roosevelt back to a three-point advantage.
Ames’ ensuing inbounds pass, coming out of a timeout, was intercepted and Roosevelt made two free throws to clinch the victory.
Des Moines Roosevelt 45, Ames 40
Ames 9 13 8 10 – 40
Des Moines Roosevelt 10 19 6 10 – 45
AMES (40) – Japannah Kellogg 3 2-2 8, Tyler Carney 4 0-0 12, Joe Evans 4 5-9 14, Makai Muhammad 1 1-1 3, Cooper Downs 1 0-0 3. TOTALS 13 8-12 40.
DES MOINES ROOSEVELT (45) – Jamie Spinks 2 0-0 4, Cade Moritz 5 1-2 12, Shamaree Tompkins 1 4-6 6, Antonio Alzheimer 2 0-1 4, Landon Ingle 2 0-0 5, Burke Pitz 4 0-1 11, Thon Kueth 1 1-1 3. TOTALS 17 6-11 45.
Cade Mortiz is clutch
Mortiz, ranked 25th in the 2018 class, got a bucket four minutes into the first quarter and then was held scoreless until deep in the third quarter.
Then, with the game on the line, he was superb.
The 6-foot-7 center scored 10 points in the game’s last 10 minutes to buoy Roosevelt from Ames’ late push. His last final minute was truly impressive.
After Ames tied the score with 1:32 left, Moritz, who played almost exclusively in the paint this night, caught a pass at the 3-point line 15 seconds into the possession and without hesitation fired away, draining the triple to stop Ames dead in its tracks. It was a display of true confidence.
Then 45 seconds later, when he bullied his way to a rebound off a missed free throw and laid the ball back in, it was just a senior stepping up again.
His ability to close was really impressive.
Ames is going to have some growing pains
The Little Cyclones are replacing a lot from last year’s team. Only senior Joe Evans and junior Japannah Kellogg return, making it clear Ames is going to have to deal with some inconsistency this season, at least in the early going. Makai Muhammad showed flashes of being able to quarterback the offense from the point guard position, Cooper Downs is a heady player and Tyler Carney can stroke it from deep. The Little Cyclones, though, have no immediate depth, with coach Vance Downs playing seven players but none off his bench in the second half. There are pieces there, but it could take a bit for them to all fit together.
Japannah Kellogg is incredibly versatile
Kellogg, a 6-foot-7 forward, has an interesting role for Ames. After playing a post position last year, Kellogg has moved out to the wing. Against Roosevelt’s zone, he had a tendency to float and be passive probably too much, standing in the corner and on the wing to keep the spacing strong, but not attacking aggressively when he got the ball, save for one instance when he had a nice drive and finish through the lane early in the game. He certainly didn’t look totally comfortable out on the perimeter yet, but obviously it’s still really early and against teams that play man-to-man, he’ll get more opportunities to do more.
It was on the defensive end, though, that his versatility was truly impressive. His natural position is probably the four or the five, but he spent this night guarding Roosevelt 6-foot point guard Antonio Alzheimer, our 15th-ranked in 2020. And Kellogg was really good on him. His length was clearly an advantage, but Kellogg moved his feet well enough to stay in front of Alzheimer and do an excellent job – for the most part – chasing him around the perimeter.
Kellogg may need to keep bringing his perimeter offensive game along, but his ability to defend on the outside while still being a presence as a help-side shot blocker makes his versatility very intriguing for coaches at the next level.
Roosevelt is going to cause problems in the Metro
There are more well-regarded teams in the CIML-Metro this season, but Roosevelt is going to win some games.
Mortiz is an absolute beast, really able to carve out space in the interior. Burke Pitz can make plays and Shamaree Tompkins is tough player.
They’re a physical squad that are going to frustrate teams with their defense.
Tyler Carney can stroke it
It seems like every year Ames has a player that opponents really need to track around the 3-point line. The last couple years its been guys like Eric Steyer and Colby Shane. This year it may be Tyler Carney.
The 6-foot-3 senior canned four triples against the Roughriders, showing a smooth, repeatable stroke that will keep defenses honest this season.