Posted On: 02/7/18 11:34 AM
DUBUQUE — Hempstead, Class 4A’s No. 9 ranked team had no issues on Tuesday night, jumping out to a 7-0 lead before Waterloo East even attempted a shot en route to a dominant 89-56 win.
Mustangs’ star guard Lucas Duax got off to a fantastic start, knocking down his first four shots of the evening, including a trio of 3s, as Hempstead built up a 15-2 lead and ran away from East in a game that was never competitive.
Hempstead moved to 14-4 (10-3 MVC) with the win. The ‘Stangs were led by their dynamic duo, with Lucas Duax pouring in 29 points and Keith Johnson adding 25.
Waterloo East dropped to 8-10 (4-10). The Trojans were led by TreyShawn LaBeaux, who had a game-high 30 points, but 17 of those points came in the fourth quarter, with the game already well in hand.
Waterloo East: TreyShawn LaBeaux 30, Tyrese Nickelson 10, Ramon Harrington 7, Steven VanArsdale 4, Jordan Wise 2, DaQuavion Walker 1
Dubuque Hempstead: Lucas Duax 29, Keith Johnson 25, Joey Kaesbauer 9, Max Muehring 6, Cody Beck 3, Tanner Meier 3, Reed Snitker 2, Bryan Black 2
Upper Iowa is getting a steal
Lucas Duax has signed to play Division II basketball at Upper Iowa, and the Peacocks are getting a steal. The 6-3 lead guard is incredibly skilled and possesses tremendous length for the position. He was dynamic in this game, going 4-5 from behind the arc and knocking down a number of mid-range shots as well. He used that shooting to open up the rest of his game, taking advantage of hard closeouts by putting the ball on the floor and getting to the rim with ease. He’s a high-level rebounder from his guard spot, pulling down eight rebounds, and he’s also a good passer with excellent court vision and awareness. The length and athleticism he has on the defensive end allows him to effectively defend either guard spot, and he’s a smart defender. He scored 29 points on 12-14 shooting. He has the looks of a low-to-mid-major guard, but will get to play a lot at Upper Iowa, and should have a very strong career in Fayette.
Keith Johnson’s next-level prospects?
Johnson has been an interesting prospect for a few years now, because I’m not quite sure what you do with him at the next level. At 6-5, he’s always been an undersized four at the college level, but that’s where he was going to have to play with his skill set. It looks like his skills are developing at a quite rapid pace, and the Mustangs are preparing him to transition out to the 3 at the next level. They ran multiple set pieces for him where they ran him off of a number of screens for 3s (was only 1-4 from deep, but each shot looked good), and they let him handle the ball a bit more than he has in previous years. Like Duax, he has great length, and he’s a plus athlete who finishes very well at the rim, and rebounds at a high level. He provides some defensive versatility with his length, athleticism and lateral quickness, and if that jumper keeps developing, he can move out to the perimeter without much issue. He projects as a Division II caliber wing.
The Mustangs opened the game in a 1-3-1 and used it to jump out to that 7-0 lead before East even attempted a shot. With Keith Johnson at the top of it, Max Duax at the back end and Lucas Duax, Max Muehring and Wil Courtney in the middle three spots, their zone has a ton of length and athleticism. Johnson operating at the top is similar to when Iowa City West jumps into their 1-3-1 with either Patrick McCaffery or Seybian Sims at the top. It’s tough to even make a pass from guard to guard with them roaming around. It’s not a defense that Hempstead played for very long, but it was highly effective in the small dose they showed of it, and is something that could throw a few wrinkles into an opposition’s offense should they want to unleash it.
Or lack thereof, maybe we should say. Former Dubuque Senior guard Justin Blackman was the first one off the bench for the Mustangs, and that didn’t come until the second quarter. They then played just a six-man rotation until the game was well out of hand. That top six is really talented, but it doesn’t seem like the ‘Stangs have a very deep rotation of players that they trust right now. If someone gets into foul trouble during postseason play, that could turn into a major issue.
LaBeaux was a standout at Cedar Falls his freshman and sophomore seasons alongside AJ Green, then mysteriously vanished, seemingly into thin air. He’s re-emerged now at Waterloo East, and he showed some of that ability that made him an intriguing prospect as a young player. He’s a phenomenal athlete at 6-4, and he’s really developed his jumper. He knocked down four of six 3s in the game, had number mid-range jumpers fall off the dribble and he’s a high-level athlete who can compete on the glass, lead the break and dunk over you. It’s good to see him back on the floor, and a JuCo should probably be taking a good hard look at him, because he’s still loaded with potential.