READY FOR THE REMATCH: No. 6 North Tama scampers past C-N
TRAER – Brandon Clubb can’t pinpoint the exact science behind it.
But he’s more than aware of the occurrence.
On Tuesday it was plain and simple once again – his Redhawks own the second quarter.
Outscoring the Royals 18-5 in that frame and 26-7 over the final 10 minutes of the first half, the sixth-ranked North Tama boys basketball team raced past Colo-NESCO 53-34 in a Class 1A District 8 semifinal Tuesday.
“I don’t know that there’s a magic formula,” Clubb said. “Teams are able to run with us for a while, but it’s a matter of how long. Sometimes in that second quarter you see teams wane a bit and that’s where we make a big run. I don’t know if it’s just coincidence, but it has been that second quarter in a lot of games that we’ve played.”
North Tama (23-1) advances to play Gladbrook-Reinbeck (17-6) in the District 8 final Thursday at 7 p.m. in Grundy Center. The Rebels defeated AGWSR (16-8) in their district semifinal 69-62.
The Rebels ended the Redhawks season a year ago in the Class 1A District 12 semifinals, though North Tama had the upper hand most recently claiming a 52-39 victory in Reinbeck Jan. 26.
Dalton Hulme had the upper hand Tuesday, leading North Tama’s balanced scoring attack with a game-high 13 points, while also limiting the Iowa Star Conference’s leading scorer – Brandyn Niemeyer – to 10. Niemeyer, who averages 19.7 points per outing, sat out the first quarter for unspecified reasons but struggled to find many open looks throughout the night.
“We put our best defender on him,” Redhawk senior Nolan Hefty said of Hulme’s defense on Niemeyer. “We helped off of him and made sure we knew where (Niemeyer) was at all times. Dalton is a smart basketball player both ways.”
That same pressure was applied to the rest of the Royals (14-10) as the Redhawks’ swarming defense forced turnovers and quick shots during their first half flurry to break the game open. The Redhawks recovered from a 7-4 deficit late in the first by scoring 13 of the next 15 points.
Jake Webb’s basket inside brought Colo-NESCO within 17-11, before the Redhawks rattled off 11 straight points. Niemeyer ended the visitors’ five-minute drought with a 3-pointer – his only points of the opening half – after picking up three fouls in the frame. Any Royals’ momentum was short-lived though as Jacob Watson beat the buzzer with a putback to stretch North Tama’s cushion to 30-14.
“They wore us down tonight,” Colo-NESCO coach Patrick Wynja said. “The way the game was being called, it kind of worked into their favor, their pressure and style. They’ve got depth, they’re big and we just made a few mistakes. A few mistakes is all it takes for them to go on a big run.”
The teams traded buckets in the third as Colo-NESCO never drew closer than 13, before the Redhawks stretched it out as far as 25 early in the fourth en route to their 13th straight win.
Mitchell Boerm and Jacob Wrage scored nine points apiece for North Tama, while Nolan Hefty had eight and Brent Billerbeck six. Skyler Kvidera scored four points in his second game back after missing the last 11 games for academic reasons according to Clubb.
“Having (Skyler) back helps playing against a post guy like Webb and gives us a lot more size and depth,” Clubb said.
Webb added 10 points for the Royals, who sustained two other losses in defeat. Cole Osbun landed awkwardly on his leg in the second quarter and did not return, while J.T. Adams hit the floor hard early in the third on a collision and was holding his head as he was helped off the court. The senior didn’t return and is just two weeks removed from suffering a concussion said Wynja.
The Redhawks swept their two regular season meetings with the Royals, winning 81-41 in Traer Nov. 27 and 62-55 in Colo Jan. 15 The second quarter has played a pivotal role for both teams this season. It is the Redhawks’ top scoring frame (20.0 points) and the Royals’ lowest (11.8). North Tama outscored Colo-NESCO 20-11 in the second frame of their previous meeting in Colo, while the Royals had a 44-42 edge in the other three quarters…Nolan Hefty’s cousin, Trevor Trunck, plays for Gladbrook-Reinbeck.