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Posted On: 02/13/18 2:55 PM
NEWTON — Behind a historic night from star guard Garrett Sturtz, Newton held off a furious Winterset rally on Monday night, winning 78-74.
Sturtz scored the first 18 points of the game for the Cardinals, helping Newton jump out to a 18-10 lead. The Cards were in control throughout the first half, taking a 32-17 lead into the break.
The second half saw the rest of the Cardinals roster get a bit more involved, and the Newton lead ballooned to as much as 18 early in the fourth quarter. Then Winterset’s dynamic backcourt of Easton Darling and Casey Kleemeier took over. The Huskies threw on a halfcourt trap that took advantage of some lazy passing and an extreme lack of aggressiveness from Newton, and the comeback was on.
A Casey Kleemeier steal and layup with just over a minute to play knotted things up at 67. Sturtz followed quickly with a bucket, putting them up two with 58.6 left. They then forced a miss, and Sturtz finished a layup plus the foul. Five-point game, ball game. Sturtz iced the game by going 9-9 from the line in the fourth quarter, including 6-6 in the last 38 seconds to seal the win.
Newton (13-7) was led by Garrett Sturtz, who poured in 56 points on the night, to go with eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. He was 16-21 from the floor and 22-23 from the free throw line in the win.
Winterset (15-6) was led by Casey Kleemeier, who had 25 points, 22 coming in the second half. Easton Darling had 17 and Nicholas Mortoza added 15 in the loss.
Winterset: Casey Kleemeier 25, Easton Darling 17, Nicholas Mortoza 15, Grant Nolan 7, Justin Henry 4, Nicholas Baur 4, Jayden Carney 2
Newton: Garrett Sturtz 56, Kyle Long 6, Grayson Graham 5, Grant Garvis 5, McKenna Davis 4, Quintrail Coley Jr. 2
Over the course of the last two seasons, there are very few players in the state who we’ve written about as much as Garrett Sturtz, and for good reason. He poured in 56 points on just 21 shots. That’s ridiculous. Those 56 points tied Tyreke Locure for the single-game high this season (it took Locure 33 shots to get his 56, still very impressive). He’s an unassuming player when you see him in the layup line, but he’s as tough a competitor, and as skilled a scorer, as we’ve seen in years. He’s always under control, impacts the game on both ends of the floor, is as icy a free throw shooter as there is in the state, has tremendous footwork, and a beautiful jumper. And perhaps the most important thing I noticed last night had nothing to do with the 56. It was during warmups. He was going full speed during everything, and that’s how all players should approach their warmups. If you’re not going to practice something full speed, what’s the point in practicing it? When are you going to shoot a layup after dribbling 35 times uncontested? Sprint to the rim and lay it up. Sprint around the screen and take your jumper. Make crisp passes. I’ve never been to a Newton practice, but I’d imagine that everything during practice is done at a full speed too, and that’s how you improve. Take note, players who think you’re too cool to go hard during warmups or practice. Garrett Sturtz goes hard, and the results speak for themselves.
He’ll get overshadowed because of how incredible Sturtz was, but Winterset’s junior guard was really good as well in this game. He’s a strong, physical 6-0 combo guard who showed the ability to score from all three levels, and do so effectively. He started the game just 1-7, but rebounded and finished at 7-15 from the floor en route to 25 points (22 second half points). He scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, and was a key part of the Huskies defense that was forcing turnovers left and right with their trap. It’d be ideal if he were to grow a few more inches, but he’s a competitor who can fill it up and distribute, and has a nice understanding of the game. He’ll probably project as a mid-tier Division II player.
Winterset’s halfcourt trap
The Huskies didn’t throw on their halfcourt trap until the fourth quarter when they were trailing by 18, but it was highly effective when they threw it on the Cardinals. They’re active in the trapping zone, and they caused plenty of bad passes and turnovers against a Newton offense that was struggling to get it past the three-point line. It’s a defense that could be thrown on at various points throughout the course of a game in hopes of speeding a team up or just providing a different look for a possession or two.
Newton’s vulnerability on the offensive glass
Newton gave up 15 offensive rebounds to a team that really isn’t very big, and that’s an area that could really hurt them in their substate. They open with Indianola, a tough one, although the Indians average only about eight offensive rebounds a night and aren’t very big. But, should Newton get through that test, they’ll run into a Waukee team that is big and physical and will pound the offensive glass and get extra possessions. Any possessions that are taken out of Sturtz’s hands will be a loss for the Cardinals, so they’re going to need to find a way to keep teams off the glass as we enter postseason play.
But seriously, Garrett Sturtz
There’s a chance that this was my last time seeing Sturtz play live, and I just wanted to take a minute to voice just how special he’s been each time we’ve seen him. He’s a quiet, unassuming killer who is one of the best competitors, finishers and gamers I’ve seen. It’s been a pleasure watching him, and I can’t wait to continue following his career as he takes it to whichever program is fortunate enough to secure his services. They won’t be disappointed.