Nick Petaros | Waterloo Courier (December 14, 2016)
JESUP — Finding sustained success after the graduation of talented senior classes can be a challenge for any basketball program.
A new blend of athletes took to the court for Jesup and Dike-New Hartford Tuesday night in an intriguing early-season showdown of returning state qualifiers out of the North Iowa Cedar League.
Jesup’s key holdover from last year’s run to Des Moines, Ethan Wyant, dropped in 21 first-half points and helped the J-Hawks build a 21-point lead past the midway point of the third quarter before Dike-New Hartford rallied behind veteran big man Ben Latusek and cut the deficit to one with 44 seconds remaining.
In the end, it was a defensive play by Wyant that helped Jesup prevail. With his team leading by two, the senior guard tipped a pass to Tyler Lienau for a steal and Dike-New Hartford was called for an intentional foul as Jesup secured a 63-60 victory at the free throw line in the game’s waning seconds.
“We just stayed tough, played through it and did what we had to do to win,” said Wyant, who finished with a game-high 32 points. “We lost a lot of good players from last year, but we’ve had a lot of good guys step in and fill the role they needed to fill. It shows we’re good enough to play with anybody in the conference, and win the conference.”
The win allowed Jesup (5-1, 4-1 NICL East) to snap a string of five consecutive losses by eight points or less to Dike-New Hartford (3-2, 2-1).
After seeing his new pieces in the frontcourt stand up to the Wolverines’ imposing front line in the first half, Jesup coach Joe Smeins had a feeling the game was far from over. The J-Hawks made just 7 of 15 free throws in the final quarter, allowing Dike-New Hartford to accelerate its comeback attempt.
“We knew at halftime that they were going to make a charge at us,” Smeins said. “That’s a good program. If we would have made some free throws consistently in the fourth quarter, it would have been a little easier win for us.
“But credit our kids. They just battled for 32 minutes. We were undersized and went toe to toe with them. We got good contributions from everybody.”
Stirring the drink for this new blend of J-Hawks, Wyant complemented his nine field goals and 14 free throws with some nice assists off the drive and a steady presence on the court.
“Right at the end of the first half he hit Ben Hummel for a big 3,” Smeins said. “Those are things you’re going to need out of him other than the scoring. His leadership was tremendous tonight in the huddle.”
Latusek finished with 17 points and his D-NH teammate Colton Harberts added all eight of his points in the second half, while Broden Coulter knocked down a pair of catch-and-shoot 3-pointers in the final minute as part of his 13-point effort that trimmed the J-Hawk lead to a single point.
D-NH coach Greg Moore was pleased with the fight his team displayed, finally getting to the basket and taking control of the glass in the second half.
“It was just a little too late, but the effort and intensity and urgency was there,” Moore said. “That’s what we need four quarters.”
DIKE-NEW HARTFORD (3-2, 2-1) — Broden Coulter 4-11 2-2 13, Royce Weber 3-5 0-0 8, Jaxon Foster 0-1 0-1 0, Connor Blough 5-12 1-2 11, Ben Latusek 7-11 3-7 17, Cade Fuller 1-5 1-3 3, Colton Harberts 3-4 2-2 8, Isaac Jorgensen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-49 9-17 60.
Dike-N. Hart. 13 10 15 22 — 60
Jesup 16 22 14 10 — 63
3-point goals—D-NH 5 (Coulter 3, Weber 2), Jesup 6 (Schmit 3, Lienau, Moore, Hummel). Total fouls—D-NH 21, Jesup 16. Technical foul—D-NH bench. Fouled out—none.
Tony Rice | PrepHoops Iowa (December 14, 2016)
Jesup 63, Dike-New Hartford 60
What looked like a blowout turned into a highly competitive game in a hurry on Tuesday night, as Jesup held on against North Iowa Cedar League rival Dike-New Hartford, 63-60.
A close game during the first quarter was blown open in the second, with the J-Hawks outscoring D-NH 22-10 in the second quarter to take a 38-23 lead into the locker rooms. Jesup came out and extended that lead to as much as 21 points in the third quarter, 49-28, with 3:34 left in the frame. A late D-NH push cut the lead down to 14 heading into the fourth. That was just a sign of things to come.
In the fourth quarter, D-NH extended their defense and used that pressure to help them make a huge run. They opened the quarter on a 10-2 run to trim the deficit to just six with five minutes left. The J-Hawks regained their composure and were in control until the final minutes, when the free throw line started to betray them.
Jesup went just 7-15 from the line in the fourth quarter, allowing D-NH to make up some serious ground late. A pair of Broden Coulter 3s helped cut the Jesup lead to 59-58, with just 44.7 left. Tyler Lienau went to the line, went 1-2 (60-58 Jesup), and D-NH came down for their possession. After a bit of ball movement, Ethan Wyant got his hands on a pass, resulting in a turnover. After a scramble, Jesup got the ball ahead to Joey Youngblut, who was fouled with 22 seconds left. The referee called the foul intentional, giving the J-Hawks the ball back after Youngblut went 1-2, meaning D-NH had to foul again, and essentially locking up the win for Jesup.
Jesup (5-1, 4-1) was led by Ethan Wyant, who had a career-high 32 points in the win. Drew Schmit added 10 for the J-Hawks. Ben Latusek led Dike-New Hartford (3-2, 3-1) with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Broden Coulter had 13 and Connor Blough addded 11 points for the Wolverines.
Dike-New Hartford: Ben Latusek 17, Broden Coutler 13, Connor Blough 11, Royce Weber 8, Colton Harberts 8, Cade Fuller 3
Jesup: Ethan Wyant 32, Drew Schmit 10, Tyler Lienau 6, Ben Hummel 5, Hans Riensche 4, Alex Moore 3, Cole VanBrocklin 2, Joey Youngblut 1
Best player off the bench: Colton Harberts (Dike-New Hartford)
The 6-6 sophomore came off the bench to give the Wolverines eight points, nine rebounds and a block. He’s a big, strong and physical player who showed good touch on the interior, was aggressive on the glass on both ends of the floor and proved to be a solid interior defender as well. As he continues to refine his skill set, watch out. And when Dike puts both Latusek and Harberts on the floor together, that’s a tough combination of strength in the paint.
Best underclassman: Colton Harberts (Dike-New Hartford)
We touched on his game in the “off the bench” portion, but Harberts really does look like he could be the face of the D-NH program for the next two seasons. Lots of skill combined with a good size and strength combination, especially at the 2A level.