Posted On: 12/16/17 12:08 AM
Grimes — A red-hot start for Oskaloosa afforded the Indians an opportunity to generate a substantial early lead, and after canning six first quarter 3s, they were up 20-12 after the first quarter. From then on the game would normalize, and DC-G actually outscored the Indians by one after the first quarter; but ultimately, it was a near wire-to-wire win for still-undefeated Oskaloosa (7-0).
The Indians, aside from their near perfect first quarter, were a bit sloppy at times, that could be credited to DC-G’s toughness and grit. And after a quiet first two-and-a-half quarters from top-ranked 2020 Xavier Foster, he was ignited late in the third quarter after an ally-oop pass from Cole Henry resulted in a show-stopping, crowd-pleasing jam. After that was a huge block on the defensive end and stand-still jam from and offensive rebound; Foster was officially dominating. In-between the two slams he canned a fadeaway 3, his third of the game.
DC-G (5-2) was within striking distance throughout, and although they captured the lead very briefly in the third quarter, they were never really able to get over the hump. The Mustangs struggled to get things going in the paint, and all the buckets were labored for. Steve Borneman led them with 11 points, Jordan Humphreys showed some nice skill and grit, adding 10 in the loss.
Oskaloosa: 20 9 10 17 — 56
DC-G: 12 14 10 13 — 49
Oskaloosa: Xavier Foster 16, Cole Henry 12, Jarad Kruse 10, Spencer Tucker 8, Rian Yates 7, Tanner DeKock 6.
DC-G: Steve Borneman 11, Jordan Humphreys 10, Damon Clapper 8, Justin Protzman 6, Justin Biegger 6, Kade Rosa 4, Tyler Cooney 4, Tyler Borneman 2.
It’s no secret that Foster, the 6’10 high-major D1 prospect (Iowa, Iowa State, Creighton, Illinois, Texas A&M offers) is a big draw, and one big reason we were at this game, so here’s what we saw. In the past, we’ve seen Foster dominant defensively, particularly with show-stopping blocks, and though he had a couple swats tonight (including one off the backboard that was called goal-tending), it wasn’t necessarily his best feature. We liked his jumper best tonight, particularly from deep, where he canned three of his four attempts, including two in the first two minutes of the game, and another — a fade-away 3 –during an outburst late in the third quarter. He did throw down a few slams, too. All-in-all, it seemed like a so-so performance from the dominant 2020. But with slams, blocks, 3s and his own dominant stretch late in the game, it was clear that so-so Foster is better than everyone else.
Foster is the main draw, but there’s so much more that’s intriguing on the Indians’ roster. Let’s start with Cole Henry: a 6’9 combo-forward with some nice handles and sharp passing ability. He tossed Foster a couple alley-oops tonight, and was flirting with no-look alley-oops at times. He’s best when dominating in the paint, but is becoming a versatile point/forward type — definitely a D1 prospect. Then there’s Spencer Tucker: definitely one of our favorite point guards in Iowa, he’s smart, savvy and skilled, what’s not to like. He’s got killer range, and showcased that while canning a 27-footer in the first quarter. It’s clear that Tucker is into winning, and he’s always looking to get his teammates involved, and does so precisely. He’s a perfect point guard for this team. Jarad Kruse is a 6’5 wing that can score from inside and out. Rian Yates is an ultimate weapon off the bench; 6’5 with a Kruse-like skill-set. There’s a lot for opposing coaches to consider when planning for the Indians.
Coming into this one we weren’t familiar with any possible DC-G/Oskaloosa rivalry, you know…outside of the typical rivalries that crop up from playing in the same conference. But we left the gym with the feeling that these two teams make-up one of the biggest rivalries in the Hawkeye Ten. There was one moment when DC-G’s Jordan Humphreys took some contact and put in a bucket plus foul, he promptly gave a stare down to his opponent. On the flip-side, there was Cole Henry, who came away with one of his many swats on the night, this one particularly egregious, and he gave the same stare-down to his victim. The student sections were going at it, and the players, too. It’s a good rivalry brewing between the Mustangs and Indians.
What impressed up most about this DC-G unit was its grit, and toughness. They were badly out-sized, and there’s no D1 players to speak of on their roster, but they were certainly not intimidated by the Indians’ size and talent, that was very clear. Steve Borneman is the calming yet competitive force that helps balance the fiery passion that spews from guards Jordan Humphreys and Tyler Cooney, those three are as gritty is gets. And the undersized, yet sneakily long and athletic bigs, Kade Ross, Justin Protzman and Damon Clapper were going after the 6’9 and 6’10 bigs from Oskaloosa relentlessly. The Mustangs may not have all the talent and size in the world, but they will compete each night out, and we wouldn’t be surprised if they make a deep run in sub-state, and possibly a trip to Wells Fargo Arena come March.
It’s early, very early still, but with a 7-0 mark and some really dominating performances under their belt, it’s hard for us not to think about the possibilities of an undefeated season for the big and talented Indians. After-all, they played somewhat poorly tonight and still got by a very tough Mustangs squad on the road — that’s saying something. First things first, they’ll have to get by the man, the myth, the legend, Garrett Sturtz and his Newton Cardinals next Tuesday in order to head into the break undefeated at 8-0. Then there’s still two bouts with an also-undefeated Norwalk squad; it will be incredibly tough to win those both. There’s still two games against always-tough Pella, those won’t be easy. And last, but certainly not least, is a January 13th match-up against Dubuque, Wahlert, that could be tricky. Then, of course, they’ll have to avoid a major letdown against a far inferior team. So, there’s a long road ahead, and we give the 7-0 Indians a 15 percent chance to finish this regular season at 21-0. But, it’s something to think about.