Quicker Scarlets earn first win against MHS

It was hard to tell Friday that the Des Moines East boys’ basketball team had not won a game yet this year.

The Scarlets showed off their quickness against Marshalltown, flexed their muscles on defense and turned turnovers into easy buckets during a 58-51 win over the Bobcats at the Roundhouse.

“They are quick and physical and we just don’t play well against those kind of teams,” MHS coach Scott Smith said. “That is just a tough matchup for us.”

The Bobcats got off to a strong start but two big dry spells in the second and fourth quarters doomed any chance at a victory. East scored the first nine points of the second quarter and then stayed ahead for good in the fourth with another run of nine straight.

Those were the key stretches in the game, according to Smith.

“We were stuck on 12 for a long time in the second quarter and we were stuck on 35 for a long time in the fourth quarter,” he said. “Those were pretty key moments.”

The Bobcats played the game without two of their top six players in Austin Kluver and Tyler Kluver. The brothers were in St. Petersburg, Fla., as Tyler Kluver played in the Under Armour All-American football game at Tropicana Field.

The Bobcats desperately missed Austin Kluver’s poise at the point guard positon and missed Tyler Kluver’s toughness down low.

“It was a factor, but we knew they were going to be gone for a while,” Smith said. “That was planned out, and it’s a big honor for Tyler. We won’t make excuses. We were able to get some other guys some minutes they normally wouldn’t have and hopefully that helps us with our depth later in the year.”

Des Moines East began the season 0-6 and lost its first five games by an average of more than 36 points per game. The Scarlets most recently lost to Ottumwa but just two points.

But they often could do no wrong against the Bobcats. Four players scored in double figures and another one had eight points. The Scarlets also converted several Marshalltown miscues into points at the other end.

“We uncharacteristically turned the ball over too much tonight,” Smith said. “But I give a lot of credit to East. They are quick and physical and they ramped up the defense in the second quarter.”

The Bobcats made as many 3-pointers (9) as 2-pointers on the night. Smith said the Bobcats tried to play an inside-outside game and tried to attack the basket, but East’s athletic ability prevented the offense from getting into a rhythm.

“We tried to drive to the hole, but we had a hard time dealing with their quickness,” Smith said.

Marshalltown led 12-9 after one quarter with Blake Gimbel scoring nine of the Bobcats’ 12 points. The Bobcats recovered from the 9-0 run by East with a 9-0 spurt of their own to go up 21-18. The highlight of that run was back-to-back triples by Riley Wirth.

Des Moines East led by one at the break and a back-and-forth third period saw Marshalltown pull ahead by two.

Gimbel added eight more points in the third and finished with 18 points in the game. However, only two of those came in the fourth quarter.

East rolled off another 9-0 run spanning the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters. Leading scorer Malique Ziegler was held in check for most of the game but scored five of his eight points during the run as the Scarlets went ahead 42-35.

Marshalltown trailed by as many as eight in the frame and never got closer than five the rest of the way.

“The effort was there tonight, but we just couldn’t get much done offensively,” Smith said.

Dillon Hernandez led the four Scarlets in double-figures with 14 points, while Rico Gafford, Ted Kofoed and Hank Jackson all scored 10 apiece.

Gimbel’s 18 points and three 3-pointers paced the Bobcats. Hunter Hillygus scored 11 points off the bench, while Blake Judkins and Riley Wirth each turned in eight points. Hillygus and Wirth each had seven rebounds, while Gimbel and De’Quan McDowell pulled down six boards.


The Bobcats were 18-of-44 from the field and hit just 9-of-24 from 3-point range. East hit 20-of-46 in the win and was 14-of-22 from the foul line. … Jackson led the Scarlets with six rebounds. … East won by seven points and outscored the Bobcats 25-16 in the final quarter. … The Kluver brothers will not play today when the Bobcats travel to Urbandale to face the state-ranked Jayhawks at 5 p.m. The Marshalltown girls face off against Urbandale at 3:15 p.m. It will be the third game in three days for the boys team.