Posted On: 12/17/17 12:01 AM
West Des Moines — We thought we’d take advantage of the rare Des Moines area visit for the Cedar Rapids Jefferson J-Hawks, and boy did this game deliver. Valley led for most of this one, and headed into the fourth quarter with a 12 point advantage, but then things got interesting. Jefferson sophomore Ozzie Meiborg scored 10 points in the first 2:45 of the final quarter, and had the J-Hawks within one, 60-59, in seemingly no time at all. Senior J-Hawks guard Kyler Bell would deliver a bucket plus foul shortly after to give Jefferson a one a point lead (missed the FT).
That lead would be short-lived though, and Valley, behind a strong finish from Blake Brinkmeyer, Tryavon Williams and Noah Samples would escape with a narrow five point win.
Williams, a junior guard with a South Dakota State offer, was sensational in the third quarter, utterly dominant. He Scored 11 points in the frame and was getting into the lane at will while finishing in a variety of ways. There was nothing the J-Hawks could do. Williams finished with a team-high, and personal season-high 20 points.
CRJ: 9 21 14 26 — 70
Valley: 13 26 17 19 — 75
CRJ: Ozzie Meiborg 22, Willie Guy 20, Kyler Bell 14, Blake Bouzek 8, Ryan Blum 2, TJ Kuennen 2, Kyran Ligon 2.
Valley: Trayvon Williams 20, Carter Frey 13, Noah Samples 10, Blake Brinkemyer 9, Luke Sueppel 9, Mike Brown 6, Agueck Deng 3, Sam Stevens 3.
He came off the bench and started slow, but he erupted in the third quarter and proved emphatically why he was the best prospect on the floor. His athleticism and was too much for the J-Hawks to handle, and his capped an 11 point third quarter — all at the rim — with a another slash to the hoop and dime to fellow junior D1 prospect Agueck Deng. The 6’3 guard may not post the big-time numbers that classmate Tyreke Locure does at Des Moines North, but that’s simply because he plays in a more subdued system at Valley. Make no mistake: Williams is a certainly one of the state’s best.
There’s one thing stands out when looking at the at this J-Hawks squad, and that’s the stark lack of height. However, with the terrific trio they have in their back-court, that lack of size is more or less neutralized. Kyler Bell is a 6′ junior with a good feel for the game and and the team’s main playmaker. Ozzie Meiborg is a sophomore standout who is really having a nice season and had a breakout game in this one. He can create his won looks, and is great off the bounce; and his 10 point outburst to start the fourth quarter was remarkable. Then there’s senior Willie Guy, he’s got the deep range to hurt teams, and canned five 3s in this one en route to his season average of 20 points. With those three running the show, the J-Hawks will be competitive in most all their games this winter.
It was Williams who took the reins today and led the way with 20 points, but throughout the game there were a slew of different guys who stepped up and had their moments. That’s Valley’s M.O.; they don’t rely on one or two key players, all of their players are key. Luke Sueppel was the man at the start, scoring nine first half points, matching his season average, which happens to lead the team (yes, nobody on the Tigers was averaging double-digits coming into this one). Carter Frey was the man in the second quarter scoring eight of his 14. Then it was Trayvon Williams’ turn to dominate. And in the fourth is was Noah Samples who took control, scoring six of his 10. That’s kind of what the Tigers can do, any one player and step up at any given time. Amazingly, Six different guys have led the team in scoring (or been tied for a game-high) this season for the Tigers; expect that trend to continue.
In what was one of those ‘wow’ moments of the early season; we saw Willie Guy rain in six points in about 10 seconds of game time. The score was 20-13 and Valley was looking to possibly run away with it early, then Guy locked and loaded a long 3 that shredded the net. While that shot was air-born, a Valley player was called for a foul (while getting a little to too rough with a block-out) and Jefferson got the ball right back under the hoop; the bucket counted. The ball was inbouded, a couple passes were made, and there was Guy again, ready to fire — he rattled in another triple. Within 10 seconds the score went from 20-13 to 20-19 and Guy’s point total went from two to eight. Those were two of Guy’s five 3s made in the game.
It’s not too often that we get the chance to talk about body language on this site; we tend to stick to the physical abilities players possess. But Kyler Bell’s demeanor and disposition on the floor was stupendous, and we applaud him for it. the senior was always positive with his teammates, and there were times when he could have hung his head, rolled his eyes, or raised his arms in disgust, but he never did; quite the contrary. He was very supportive of his teammates — especially the younger ones — when they made mistakes. He never showed signs of defeat, and never gave up, and his effort never wavered. He’s a good player, and certainly has the skill-level to play small-school ball. But it’s his even-keeled mood that separates him from many of his peers, and college coaches can work with someone like that.