Dowling’s defense stops ’Cats in tracks

The Marshalltown boys’ basketball team played about as good as it could in the first quarter against Dowling Catholic.

The Bobcats five 3-pointers and scored 19 points in the frame to take a tie into the second period.

After that though, the Bobcats suffered scoring droughts in two different quarters as the Maroons won their eighth straight game following a 61-41 victory at the Roundhouse during an inter-division matchup in the Central Iowa Conference.

“We live and die by the 3,” MHS coach Scott Smith said. “We lived by the 3 in the first quarter but then died by the 3 the rest of the way.”

The Bobcats (5-11) buried 10 treys in the game, but Dowling Catholic (11-3) amped up its defense in the second quarter and kept the pressure on throughout the second half in the win.

Marshalltown’s only two points of the second quarter came at the foul line and the Bobcats only managed six points from two-point range all night. And no one finished in double-figures as Blake Gimbel had a team-high eight.

“They ramped up their defense and we just couldn’t buy a bucket in that second quarter,” Smith said. “We didn’t take bad shots, but the shots we took just didn’t fall.

“We don’t have that 6-foot-7 guy we can throw it in to and get a shot whenever we want. We are going to have to hit outside shots to be successful.”

And for a quarter, the Bobcats did just that.

Blake Judkins scored five quick points in the first frame to give the Bobcats an early lead. Tyler Kluver, Gimbel, Hunter Hillygus and Austin Kluver all buried treys in the period, as well, as the Bobcats played the Maroons point-for-point.

Hillygus’ 3 gave MHS another lead at 16-14 and then Austin Kluver’s triple tied the score at 19 heading into the second quarter.

“We played hard tonight,” Smith said. “I thought we moved the ball well and we passed the ball well. We see the makes all the time in practice and we definitely gave ourselves some opportunities tonight.”

Matthew Haack hit back-to-back shots to start the second and a triple by Luke DeVenney made it 26-19 in a hurry. Haack added one more bucket in the frame and all Marshalltown managed was two freebies by De’Quan McDowell.

Tyler Kluver and Gimbel sunk back-to-back treys early in the third to get the Bobcats within three points, but Dowling finished the period on a 13-4 run and led by 12 heading into the fourth, and the Bobcats would not get closer than 12 the rest of the way.

“The scout on us is to come out and guard us, and Dowling did that very well tonight,” Smith said. “We took good shots. They just didn’t fall. I credit Dowling for that.

“(Dowling) doesn’t pass the eye test, but they do everything well. They are an outstanding team and are a program we inspire to make our Bobcat program someday.”

The inside attack of Jon Wisnieski and Grant Otte led the Maroons to the victory. Wisnieski, who will play football at Iowa next season, and Otte both finished with 14 points, while Eric Austin had nine, Haack added eight and leading scorer Peter Odia pitched in seven.

Judkins, McDowell, Mason McCarville and Hillygus all finished with six points for the Bobcats. MHS was 10-of-27 from long range in the game.


The Bobcats will travel to Fort Dodge on Friday. They defeated the Dodgers by one at the Roundhouse earlier this season, but Fort Dodge has since beaten Mason City, Johnston and state-ranked Urbandale. … The Maroons’ leading scorer is Odia at 11.2 points per game, but four players score at least 9.2 points per game. … The Maroons’ eight-game win streak includes victories over Waukee, Southeast Polk and Johnston. During that stretch, only one team has scored more than 51 points against them. … Smith said he wants to model Dowling’s blue-collar style. “They play solid defense and make the extra passes on offense, too,” Smith said.