Posted On: 12/1/17 11:55 PM
Ankeny — Tyreke Locure poured in a cool 25, and Sebit Kallo shined as Des Moines North got its first win of the season with a comfortable 10-point triumph on the road at Ankeny Centennial.
The Polar Bears started slow, and Centennial got off to a quick lead early in the game, ending the first quarter with a 15-11 advantage. But a second quarter flurry by the Polar Bears had them on top in a hurry, and they would never look back.
Hunter Strait was good for the Jags, he poured in a team-high 22 points, including some tough finishes at the rim. Sophomore standout Micah Johnson kept his team alive with eight third quarter points; he netted 14 in the game.
The Polar Bears move to 1-1 on the season, and will have Dowling at home next Tuesday. Centennial drops to 0-2 and will play at Marshalltown next Tuesday.
Des Moines North: 11 21 13 17 — 62
Ankeny Centennial: 15 12 15 10 — 52
DMN: Tyreke Locure 25, Sebit Kallio 13, Lino Malual 9, Gatdoar Bijiek 9, Malik Allen 3, Jahion McCaleb 3.
ACHS: Hunter Strait 22, Micah Johnson 14, Zach Kluver 6, Jackson Brannan 5, Preston Kelling 3, Lathan Brandt 2.
It’s very clear that we here at Prep Hoops Iowa hold the Des Moines North point guard in high regard, and we can say with certainty that he’s one of the state’s elite, special talents. Tonight, Locure didn’t really do anything out of the norm, but it just so happens that norm for him is 25 points, a handful assists and some jaw-dropping steals. He scored 25 tonight, and he did so after a not-so-great start to the game. But by midway through the third quarter, it was clear that he was just a cut above the rest. Lastly, we’ll say this, we’ve seen a ton of basketball games over the last several years, it takes a lot to make us shake our heads in disbelief, Locure made me do that at least twice today, in what will ultimately just become an average game for him this season.
There was a point in the second quarter when North went on a 12-2 run, and right smack dab in the middle of all the excitement was Sebit Kallo gathering the ball, maneuvering through the lane and leaping for a smooth and effortless flush — one you be more inclined to see in a Big 12 game than a high school match-up. Kallo has that height, length and athleticism combo that makes him look like a big-time player. And that was certainly a big-time dunk. He canned a 3-ball, snared some boards and scored at the rim too, tallying 14 points in all. After enrolling at Roosevelt and Lincoln the past couple of years, but never seeing the floor, it seems Kallo has finally landed in a spot where he can not only be impactful, but star.
See Kallo at 20 seconds in this Dan Corey clip
— Dan Corey (@DanCorey1011) December 2, 2017
After losing one of 2017’s top players, Jal Bijiek, to graduation, and then dropping its first game of the season to Waukee (albeit a very good Waukee), some might have been wondering if the Polar Bears would be able to duplicate the success of last year’s state tourney squad. And though we may have had our doubts after a sluggish first quarter, what took place after that has us believing. We’ve already talked about Locure and Kallo, those two will star this season for the Polar Bears. But so will Lino Malual, a high-rising electric athlete with a jumper. And Gatdoar Bijiek, a lethal lefty shooter who canned three of his five 3-point tries tonight. Then there’s Jahion McCaleb, a 6’3 forward, who will snare boards and is one of the state’s best set shooters. Off the bench, there’s Malik Allen, a tough and capable freshman hungry to prove he belongs. Athelticism, shooting and grit will lead this team far. Can they make another state tourney run? We think so.
Ankeny Centennial may have taken the loss tonight, but it wasn’t without some shining moments. We think the Jags will be fine this season, losing to this North squad is something that a lot of teams will do throughout the winter. But with Hunter Strait at the helm, and their two sophomores Micah Johnson and Preston Kelling playing major, productive minutes, we feel the best is yet to come for this team. Johnson was sensational tonight, and even dominated in the third quarter when he notched eight points and nearly single-handedly kept the Jags within striking distance. Kelling netted just one bucket, but it was a timely and well-stroked 3-ball. The two of them will continue to improve as they gain more and more experience. And as they exponentially improve, so will the Jags. The future is bright at Centennial.
A lot like his counterpart, Tyreke Locure, tonight, Hunter Strait is a guy that makes it look easy. You look up and all of a sudden he’s got 20. And though he didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in this one, his ability to get to rim and finish is among the best in all of Iowa. He finishes with such creativity, and you wonder how he gets some of those quirky shots to drop, but he does with regularity. Frankly, it’s fun to watch. It becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that Strait is a player, and his ability to handle the ball paired with his elite vision make him one of the state’s best point guards. While covering a tournament in Minnesota once, one of the other Prep Hoops writers was watching a game with me, Strait was playing, during warmups he said “oh, that kids a player, I can just tell,” “yep,” I said, “he is”.