DAVENPORT — The #2 team in Class 4A got more than they wanted from a feisty Davenport North squad on Thursday night, escaping with a 44-43 road win that clinched North Scott at least a share of the MAC title.
A slow moving first half saw North Scott build an 18-12 halftime edge. They controlled the game for a majority of the second half, until things started to get interesting late.
Trailing 42-36 with a little under two minutes to play, North’s junior wing Jayden Houston was fouled on a 3. He went 2-3 from the line, cutting the North Scott lead to 42-38. The Wildcats then forced a turnover with 1:17 left. Houston rebounded a missed 3 by Sam Wellman, put it back in and was fouled. He made the free throw, cutting it to 42-41, 57.8 seconds left. North Scott threw the ensuing inbounds pass away, giving the Wildcats the ball back. On the ensuing possession, fellow junior wing Quincy Wiseman drove to the rim and score, giving North a 43-42 lead.
A reach-in foul was called on North with 19.0 to play, sending Sam Kilburg, a 49% free throw shooter to the line. He calmly drilled both free throws, giving the Lancers a 44-43 lead. They were able to force a tough, contested shot from Mekhi Jacobs on the final possession and escaped with the win.
North Scott (17-1) was led by Landon Eiland, who had 12 points on 4-7 shooting from 3. Sam Kilburg added 10 points in the win, as the Lancers overcame a night in which their star players (Ty Anderson and Kilburg) combined for just 18 points.
North (12-6) was led by Quincy Wiseman, who had 14 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Mekhi Jacobs had 11, and Jayden Houston battled foul trouble to finish with 10 points. The Wildcats were just 12-38 from the field in the loss.
North Scott wins without Kilburg, Anderson having big games
The dynamic duo of Sam Kilburg and Ty Anderson came in averaging 35.1 points on 54% shooting (49.2 3P%), but the tandem had a relatively quiet night, combining for 18 points on 4-10 shooting (3-5 3P). But they found ways to make an impact in other ways. Kilburg was solid on the defensive end all night and made a big 3 to spark a run in the third quarter, plus the two free throws that won the game. Anderson dished out 6 assists and had 2 blocks. And the rest of the team stepped up to carry the scoring load. Trent Allard had 8, all in the second half (he averages 3.5). Landon Eiland had 12, knocking down four 3s. Cole Kilburg chipped in 6. And they defended. Finding ways to win games when the top two players have below average games is big, and North Scott did just that.
North trending up
New coach Marc Polite has the Wildcats playing hard and more efficient on the offensive end of the floor, and has the program trending up. North is 12-6 after going 10-13 last season, which means they’ll finish above .500 for just the third time since 2003. The even better news is that the top three scorers, and four starters from this game, will be back next season. Standout wings Jayden Houston and Quincy Wiseman are both juniors. Guards Alec Brown and Mekhi Jacobs, both solid contributors, are juniors as well. Starting big man Cade Guinn is limited offensively but is tough, physical and rebounds. He’s just a sophomore. This group is trending up, and will be a team to really keep an eye on next season.
Freshman Cole Kilburg big off the bench
The freshman brother of standout Sam Kilburg, Cole came off the bench and provided a spark on Thursday night, finishing with 6 points, 2 rebounds and an assist. Like every North Scott piece, he gets after it on the defensive end and limits mistakes offensively. He made a pair of big free throws in the 4th quarter, had a nice finish at the rim and looks like a player who will make a major impact during his four years in Eldridge.
Will close games (and deliberate pace) catch up to North Scott?
This was the seventh game the Lancers have played this season that was decided by single digits (and the third straight), and while they’re 6-1 in those games, will that eventually catch up to them? What makes North Scott so good is that they really dig in on the defensive end, allowing just 37 points a game during their current 16-game winning streak. But the slow pace they play at means that each possession means more, and if they have a night where they shoot 40% from the floor instead of nearly 50%, they could be in trouble.
Landon Eiland, intriguing prospect
The 6-5 junior wing is a prospect who really intrigues me with his length, athleticism and shooting ability. The Lancers did a great job finding ways to get him open looks, and he was 4-7 from behind the arc en route to his 12 points. With his length, he can defend multiple spots on the perimeter, and he’s a solid athlete who can finish above the rim. He needs to continue to add weight and strength because he lost the ball in traffic on a few occasions, but he has the ability to fill it up and his length and size give him some high upside.