GOOSE LAKE—After outscoring Tipton 21-3 in the second quarter of play, the Northeast men ran to a rollercoaster 64-53 victory on Friday night at home.
“We’ve got some stuff to clean up that’s for sure,” head coach Travis Eversmeyer said. “This is still a group that four or five guys in the rotation haven’t played a lot of varsity before. It’s a learning process.”
The first quarter proved to be a grind for both River Valley Conference teams, but a late three-pointer by guard Dawson Stoll gave them a four point lead and sent the fans into a frenzy.
Between the quarters, the Rebels found some motivation. A flurry of made free throws and a Dawson Rickords three-pointer, all unanswered, gave them the 10-point lead.
“Our defense spurred our offense in the first half,” Eversmeyer said.
Throw in some cuts and drives from the Rebels’ high-flying guards like Trey McAleer and Dakota Stevenson and big offensive rebounds from the man in the middle Braeden Hoyer and the Rebels outscored the Tigers 21-3.
“They got in the weight room, they came to open gym, they bought in from day one,” Eversmeyer said about his perimeter players. “Shooting still isn’t where we need it yet, but overall they’ve put in a lot of time and we hopefully will reap the rewards.”
They held a solid 35-13 lead heading into the halftime beak.
Coming out of the half, they scored the first four points but then were held pointless for consecutive minutes. The Tigers started to grind away at the deficit. After a three-point shot put them within 14 points, Eversmeyer called a timeout.
That included some sloppy turnovers and quite a bit of fouling.
By the end of the third, though, the Rebels had cleaned things up and gotten themselves back into an offensive rhythm. They still held the convincing 44-28 lead going into the final eight minutes.
“They’ve already been in four or five games that have been close at the end,” Eversmeyer said. “They’re starting to get a little hardened up confidence wise. We practice situations so we weren’t really concerned we just knew we had to keep grinding away.”
The Tiger kept clawing. With four minutes left to play, they were within just eight points of the Rebels. Dakota Stevenson made a decisive drive and got the foul as well, making quite the statement.
“It felt good getting the team going and get a run going,” Stevenson said. “It gave us some confidence and energy.”
Stevenson then put in another pair from the line, while Dawson Stoll make a bucket on a baseline drive to keep Tipton at bay. They continued to put in buckets in the paint and free throws to finish it out.
“A free throw can make or break the game,” Stevenson said. “We practice, our coaches and teammates give us confidence, you just have to swag up and knock them down.”
The Rebels improve to 3-2 on the season. A favorite rivalry—one that was strengthened during district play at the end of last season—will be reignited on Tuesday when the Rebel men travel down the road to Camanche to face the Indians. Both teams are dabbling in the Class 2A state rankings so far this season.
Rebel girls struggle to find offense
GOOSE LAKE—A long stretch of no points in the middle of the first half aided a 53-36 Northeast loss to Tipton on Friday night, the direct effect of an off defensive night.
Even in the first, the Rebels could tell they had a battle. The Tigers led by as much as eight points, but the Rebels gutted out the first eight minutes. A last second three-pointer put them within just three points—17-14—after the first.
That’s when trouble started. A mix of cold outside shooting, missed free throws and no seams in the middle of the lane caused a nearly five minute streak of no points for Northeast. All of a sudden they were down by nearly twenty points by the half.
Even that offensive struggle comes back to the defensive end.
“We try to approach it as … if we’re not scoring we’re not playing great defense. Scoring starts on the defensive end,” Northeast coach Scott Maddasion said. “If you’re working hard down there, you’re going to be able to get the easy buckets and make the plays you need to. We just didn’t do that in the second quarter.”
Fouling was also an issue, with some of the starters getting into foul trouble by the end of the game and the Tigers putting up a lot of free throws. They were shooting bonus free throws just one minute into the second quarter.
“When you play defense standing straight up and down that’s what’s going to happen,” Maddasion said. “We were not low, we were not in a defensive stance, and we paid for it.”
It didn’t take long for that margin to hit 20, and they still never really hit their groove. The Rebels’ goal is to hold teams to under 35 points a game and defense is continuing to be Maddasion’s main message to his athletes.
“Defense takes no basketball ability,” he said. “It takes effort, it takes energy and it takes discipline. Anybody can do that.”
Meanwhile, the Rebels are still looking for their niche on the offensive end as well. Emma Fowler led the team with 14 points, while Bree Mangelsen ended with eight and Claire Abbott seven.
“They know the x’s and o’s, but we haven’t had somebody who’s ready to step up and take charge, be the person who leads us on offense.”
Northeast falls to 2-4 and plays RVC opponent Camanche on the road on Tuesday.