MOUNT AYR — Two Pride of Iowa Conference rivals entered the gymnasium here Tuesday night with undefeated conference records. Only one stayed undefeated, and did it in convincing fashion.
The Class 2A No. 1 Nodaway Valley Wolverines opened up the second half on a 16-0 run on their way to pulling away fro a 58-26 win over Mount Ayr.
Wolverine head coach Darrell Burmeister didn’t like the way his team ran its quick shot offense in the first half, as Nodaway Valley held a 23-12 lead at the break.
Coming out to start the third quarter, Burmeister moved to his “Iowa” offensive set, which led to four buckets for big man Alex Welsch during the 16-0 run.
“I thought starting in the third quarter, when we went to the ‘Iowa,’ and we hit Alex three or four times in a row, that gave us a little separation,” Burmeister said. “Alex was taking too far of shots away from the basket in the first half and we weren’t getting the rebound, so we tried to get the ball closer in for Alex.”
The 6-7 Welsch, who finished with a game-high 24 points, also made a big difference on defense.
With Mount Ayr playing without two big men — Jacob Sobotka (injury) and Johnathan Triggs (illness) — Raider coach Bret Ruggles knew his team needed to knock down jump shots.
“We knew we were going to have to use a lot of guards,” Ruggles said. “We were hoping with ball control, we could find the open spot and make jump shots. The Welsch kid is just so good in the middle with blocking shots that we were trying to get around him. Didn’t work out well, because our guys just got lost in the offense, and then they started missing shots and losing confidence.”
Burmeister abandoned Nodaway Valley’s trademark press defense because he didn’t want Mount Ayr’s Jake Still and Braydee Poore to get loose in transition.
Still and Poore entered Tuesday’s contest averaging a combined 34 points per game, but were held to just 13 points in the loss.
“To me, I think the biggest thing is we’ve got to find a way to get scoring outside of Poore and Still,” Ruggles said. “We’ve got to find a way to get buckets without using those two. We’re going to go back to the film and see what worked for us. Our game has always been open and run. Nodaway did a great job taking that away from us tonight. We’re going to have to find a way to get out, get down the floor a little quicker and find our openings that way, versus doing it in the halfcourt set.”
Despite the big win, Burmeister expects a tough battle when the two teams meet again in Greenfield on Jan. 29.
“They’re a great team,” Burmeister said. “They’re going to be healthy. I’m sure they’re going to try to stay with only one conference loss until they come to our place.”
NODAWAY VALLEY (58) — Alex Welsch 11 2-2 24, TJ Bower 5 3-3 13, Brad Baudler 4 0-1 8, Daniel Ehrsam 3 0-0 7, Zach Plymesser 3 0-0 6. Totals — 26 5-6 58. 3-point goals — 1 (Ehrsam). Team fouls — 11. Fouled out — None.
MOUNT AYR (26) —Jake Still 3 1-5 7, Braydee Poore 2 2-7 6, Dylan Doman 3 0-0 6, Austin Quick 2 0-0 5, Jack Jones 1 0-2 2. Totals — 11 3-14 26. 3-point goals — 1 (Quick).
NV — 15 23 41 58
MA — 9 12 16 26