GREENFIELD — Nodaway Valley coach Darrell Burmeister got his team’s attention at halftime by stripping them of a precious label.
With two key starters on the bench, saddled with two fouls each, the Wolverines stalled and went scoreless for five minutes in the second quarter here Thursday night as Mount Ayr finished the half on a 10-0 run to close it to 40-24. NV had bolted in front 32-14 in the first quarter on the strength of three 3-pointers, and moved it to 40-14 before the lull.
“I always told them they were my best basketball IQ team,” Burmeister said of his fourth-ranked Wolverines. “I took that away from them at halftime. I said, my state championship team (2006) was my best basketball IQ team.”
Burmeister’s challenge to “play smarter” apparently hit the mark, as the Wolveries quickly quelled any Raider upset hopes with a 16-2 third quarter to take command, 56-26.
Reserves played more than half of the final period as Nodaway Valley finished with a 67-36 victory to improve to 17-1 overall and 14-0 in the Pride of Iowa Conference.
Mount Ayr fell to 13-6 overall and 10-4 in league play.
“After the game we said the third quarter was the key,” Burmeister said. “T.J. (Bower) and Brad (Baudler) did a better job denying the ball in the third quarter. In that second quarter, Alex Welsch and T.J. got their second cheap fouls and I thought we lost a little bit with both of them sitting on the bench. We took about five quick shots and I didn’t see anybody go to the boards. We kind of shot ourselves out of it, like we did against Creston when they made their comeback.”
Mount Ayr’s inside duo of John Triggs and Jed McCreary became effective when Welsch was benched with two fouls.
“We played well in the second quarter,” said Mount Ayr assistant coach Jeff Levine, subbing for coach Bret Ruggles, out this week with a medical issue. “It helped when they put Welsch on the bench. Then we could actually do some things down low. When he comes in, he changes things.”
Bower and Baudler had key defensive assignments on Mount Ayr’s scoring duo of Braydee Poore and Jake Still, respectively. Poore was limited to five points, while Still had a team-high 11 points. Mount Ayr did not impose its usual full-court trapping defense.
“We didn’t want to trap tonight,” Burmeister said, “then you lose Still and Poore in transition. When they have the ball and they can attack the basket, that’s when they are at the top of their game. I thought we did a good job in our 40 (man to man) press and we didn’t let (Jack) Jones get anything in transtion. He can hurt you when he releases down the floor.”
Baudler led the Wolverine offense with 18 points and three of the team’s eight 3-pointers. He also had a team-high five assists, two steals and six rebounds.
Three other Wolverines scored in double figures. Welsch had another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Bower had 11 points, three assists and four rebounds. Dean Frank and Dan Ehrsam each canned two 3-pointers while scoring 10 and eight points, respectively.
“Nodaway Valley is very good,” Levine said. “They do things against us that nobody else can do. They have a 6-7 kid (Welsch) in the middle, they have Baudler who can dog Jake all night,and Bower is a good player on Poore. Other teams in our conference can’t do that. When shots aren’t falling, it’s tough against this team.”
Junior Jacob Sobotka made his first appearance of the season during the fourth quarter for Mount Ayr, coming off a severe ankle injury in football.
“We’re easing him in,” Levine said. “He hasn’t practiced much. I’d say by Tuesday against Lenox he might get a good 20 minutes. He said he felt great tonight. That’s a positive.”
A ceremony was held early in the JV boys game in honor of Cindy Kohler, the late wife of Wolverine JV coach and assistant varsity coach Dr. Dick Kohler, who died in her sleep last Friday.
Both teams are on the road tonight, with Nodaway Valley traveling to Southeast Warren, and Mount Ayr at Pleasantville.
MOUNT AYR (36) — Jake Still 4 2-2 11, Braydee Poore 2 1-2 5, Dylan Doman 2 0-0 5, Jed McCreary 1 3-4 5, John Triggs 2 0-0 4, Jacob Sobotka 1 2-2 4, Austin Quick 1 0-0 2. Totals — 13 8-10 36. 3-point goals — 2 (Doman 1, Still 1). Rebounds — Triggs 5, McCreary 5. Assists — Doman 4, Quick 2. Team fouls — 11. Fouled out — None.
NODAWAY VALLEY (67) — Brad Baudler 7 1-1 18, Alex Welsch 6 2-4 14, T.J. Bower 4 3-3 11, Dean Frank 4 0-0 10, Dan Ehrsam 3 0-0 8, Zach Plymesser 1 0-0 3, Tim Hansen 1 0-1 2, Chisum Downing 0 1-2 1. Totals — 26 7-11 67. 3-point goals — 8 (Baudler 3, Frank 2, Ehrsam 2, Plymesser 1). Rebounds — Welsch 11, Baudler 6, Ehrsam 6, Bower 4. Assists — Baudler 5, Bower 3. Steals — Baudler 2. Team fouls — 12. Fouled out — None.
Mount Ayr— 14 24 26 36
Nodaway Valley — 32 40 56 67