Posted On: 01/30/18 3:47 PM
WAUKEE — Class 4A No. 8 Waukee jumped out to a 21-5 lead in the first quarter, then held on to win an interesting non-conference game against Linn-Mar on Saturday afternoon, 53-49.
The Warriors used their size advantage on both ends of the floor to completely dominate the first eight minutes of the game, taking a 21-8 lead after the first quarter, a quarter in which all five starters scored. Nathan Nelson and Dylan Jones, the Warriors two bigs, had 11 points in the quarter and controlled the glass on both ends of the floor.
Linn-Mar showed how potent they can be, clawing back into the game in the second half and getting as close as a possession, 42-40, with 3:30 left in the game. Star Linn-Mar forward Trey Hutcheson fouled out around this time, and the Lions comeback effort was eventually thwarted, as Waukee went 8-11 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to hold on for the win.
Waukee (14-2) was led by Nathan Nelson, who led four in double figures with 15 points. Dylan Jones had 14, Noah Hart 11 and Jaxx Rittman added 10 in the win for the Warriors.
Linn-Mar (8-7) was led by Trey Hutcheson, who had 16 points before fouling out. Greg Hall added 10 points off the bench for the Lions.
Linn-Mar: Trey Hutcheson 16, Greg Hall 10, Jacob Robertson 6, Jack Gertsen 6, Nolan Ruff 4, Jaren Nelson 3, Nate Annis 2, Cole Martin 2
Waukee: Nathan Nelson 15, Dylan Jones 14, Noah Hart 11, Jaxx Rittman 10, Nathan Johnson 3
Linn-Mar can get back into games in a hurry
The Lions dug themselves a huge hole, falling behind 21-5 in the first quarter. But with the shooting they have on their roster, they can get back into a game in a hurry. This is a roster that is loaded with kids who can get hot from the arc (Trey Hutcheson, Jacob Robertson, Greg Hall, Jaren Nelson, among others), and the 3-point line has become the ultimate equalizer across all levels of basketball now. Of course, it’d be better if they didn’t fall into a huge hole to begin with, but as opposed to a very methodical, paint scoring based team like Pleasant Valley, the Lions are very rarely ever out of a game because of that shooting that can close gaps quickly.
Waukee’s two juniors, Noah Hart and Dylan Jones, are among my personal favorite players in the state, and they play a major role for the Warriors. Hart is the primary ball handler, a talented lead guard who can really defend and distribute, in addition to being a reliable scoring threat. And Jones is a versatile stretch forward who can score on the block with either hand, runs the floor really well, and can occasionally step out to the arc and knock down shots. He also blocked three shots in this game and provides some rim protection. This is one of the better inside-out duos in the state, and when it’s their team next year, watch out.
Dylan Jones is the only true “big man” Waukee has at 6-7, but Nathan Nelson (listed at 6-3) plays a lot bigger than his listed height. He’s really strong and physical around the rim, and has the ability to bully opponents in the paint on either end of the floor. Additionally, 6-6 wing Nathan Johnson has the ability to go inside and protect the rim or score on the block, although he’s better in a slashing role on the perimeter. The Warriors are a group with lots of length, which helps them all play even bigger than they are, which is already one of the bigger teams around the state.
MVC vs. CIML
Wouldn’t it be nice to see some sort of shootout event pitting the MVC and CIML against each other? This was just the fourth game the conferences have played against each other this season, with each league winning twice. With the expansion of the MVC, they’ll have even fewer non-conference opportunities, and the CIML hasn’t had many openings for years now, so we may begin to see these leagues never playing each other, which would be a shame. It provides us a good opportunity to gauge how the leagues stack up against each other, and is a good opportunity for teams to see and play against schools and styles that they never get to see. It’s a great thing that we hope doesn’t die.
The Waukee Fieldhouse
It’s been said before, and it needs to be said again – if you’re a high school basketball fan, go check out Waukee’s new Fieldhouse. It’s absolutely beautiful. This mid-afternoon Saturday game didn’t provide the best atmosphere, but it’s a sight to see. It feels like a small college gym and is a place that would be a lot of fun to watch a substate final at. It seats 2,500 people, making it one of, if not the biggest, gyms in the state, and when it’s full, it’d be an awful lot of fun to be a part of.