Posted On: 12/7/17 3:05 PM
BETTENDORF — An intriguing non-conference game quickly got out of hand on Saturday afternoon, as 4A No. 9 Linn-Mar ran away from Bettendorf en route to a 59-34 win.
A close game for the first eight minutes, the Lions used a 19-5 second quarter edge to blow the game wide open, then never looked back. Perhaps most impressively, they made that big run while star forward Trey Hutcheson was on the bench battling foul trouble. When he returned in the second half, he scored 16 of his game-high 22 points (14 in the third quarter), to help Linn-Mar keep DJ Carton and Bettendorf at bay.
The biggest story of the game was the Linn-Mar defense, who limited Carton to 13 points on just 2-13 shooting from the floor.
Linn-Mar (2-0) was led by Trey Hutcheson, who had 22 points. Cole Martin added 12 off the bench, and in total, 11 different Lions scored in the game. DJ Carton was the only player in double figures for Bettendorf (1-1) with 13 points.
Below are five takeaways we had from Saturday’s game.
Linn-Mar: Trey Hutcheson 22, Cole Martin 12, Jack Gertsen 7, Tyler Oberbroeckling 3, Jaren Nelson 3, Greg Hall 3, Jacob Robertson 2, Hayden Passmore 2, Cam Nelson 2, Nate Annis 2, Nolan Ruff 1
Bettendorf: DJ Carton 13, Lucas Hayes 5, Ty Alexander 5, Peter Bauer 4, Brant Mueller 3, Trevor Feller 2, Devynn Wakefield 2
Linn-Mar has a chance to be really good defensively
The Lions were incredibly impressive on the defensive end in this game, and it’s because they have lots of versatility on their roster. Jacob Robertson was the primary defender on Carton when he was in the game, and he’s a big (6-4) guard with long arms who moves his feet well. He’s able to cover a lot of ground, and he was able to stay mostly in front of Carton. Greg Hall is a smaller, more athletic, defender off the bench who also did a nice job on Carton, as did Cole Martin and Hayden Passmore when they got shots at him. Trey Hutcheson has good size and length and can defend multiple positions, and they have some size and rim protection on the interior with guys like Nate Annis and Jack Gertsen. In the last five years, the Lions have an average team defense ranking of 25.6 (out of 48 4A teams), putting them right in the middle of the pack. But in the last two seasons, they’ve been 33rd and 43rd. This group has a chance to finish in the top third of the class in defense, and that will win them a lot of games. They have solid defenders across all levels, they play much better team defense than they have in previous years, and they are able to switch nearly everything because of the versatility all of their players have.
The Lions are deep and well-built
Eleven different players scored in the Lions win, and ten of them played significant minutes throughout the game. They have a star in Hutcheson, lots of shooting around him, and they bring some quality players off the bench. Two of their most productive players in the win were guard Cole Martin (12 points, four assists) and big man Jack Gertsen (seven points, four rebounds). In total, they got 29 points off the bench. There isn’t much drop-off when they bring their reserves in, which is something that few teams can say around the state. This is a deep, versatile and talented group.
DJ Carton is special
He had a bad game, and he’d probably be the first to admit it, but just watching the way he moves on the floor, handles the ball and his explosive athleticism shows how special he is and can be. He’s incredibly gifted.
But the Bulldogs are going to need to give him some help
Carton was the only returnee from last year’s team who saw any playing time, as the Bulldogs lost ten seniors from the state qualifying group. They’ll need to find players who can step up alongside him to take some of the pressure off. Maybe it’s United Township transfer Devynn Wakefield, who gives them an athletic, slashing wing. Maybe it’s sophomore big man Lucas Hayes, who is a big body who eats up a lot of space in the paint and showed some footwork and touch. Or maybe it’s someone else. But the fact of the matter remains, someone needs to step up to help Carton out.
Trey Hutcheson has become one of the best pure scorers in the state
Joe Wieskamp. AJ Green. Garrett Sturtz. Tyreke Locure. Trey Hutcheson? Hutcheson, a 6-6 junior wing, has firmly put himself among the best pure scorers in the state after the great summer he had with the Barnstormers and the start he’s gotten off to this year. With his size, he’s able to score effectively at all three levels, and he’s turned into one of the best shooters in the state, whether that’s from the mid-range or the arc. He has the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim, and he can take smaller defenders into the post and score. He’s a high-level scorer who has turned into one of the most dangerous players in the state in seemingly a short amount of time.