Basketball

10 things on prep basketball: Claytons lead Fort Dodge, Mason City and Cedar Falls get big wins

A lot goes on during basketball season — so much that it seems like a never-ending, always-changing, living, breathing thing. Tuesday’s games are quickly forgotten the moment Friday’s games tip off. It’s part of what makes it fun.

North's Jal Bijiek goes for the dunk over Hoover Huskie Devonte Thedford last season.

North’s Jal Bijiek goes for the dunk over Hoover Huskie Devonte Thedford last season.

As such, we do our best to keep an eye on everything — and will continue to do so, now that we’re more than a month into the boys’ season. Here, we offer 10 midweek thoughts that recap the early-week action and look ahead to the weekend.

1. As Claytons go, so does Fort Dodge

Fort Dodge beat Urbandale, 55-39, on Tuesday night. The game came and went without much fuss, but it became clear that the Dodgers go as Malcolm and Solomon Clayton do.

In the first half, when Fort Dodge was making shots, it was the Claytons facilitating the action. The two sank six of the team’s nine field goals en route to a 32-10 halftime lead. They both also got to the line and defended well.

Then, in the second half, when they both struggled with fouls and weren’t hitting shots, Urbandale found a rhythm and mounted a small comeback attempt, outscoring the Dodgers 14-4 in the third quarter. Coach Tom Daniel admitted as much afterward.

“We go as the Claytons go,” Daniel said, “and then the pieces around them fill their roles. It was a nice team effort, and we got a lot of contributions.”

Solomon ended up with 19 points, tying his season high. He’s a 6-foot-4 senior who averaged 12.4 per game entering Tuesday. Malcolm, a 5-foot-11 junior floor general, put up 10, just below his season average of 14.8. The Dodgers host Marshalltown on Friday.

2. Mason City shows potential in win over Dowling

The Mason City boys’ basketball team had shown their ability in spurts over the course of its 4-0 start. But Tuesday, the Mohawks put together arguably their best outing of the season (so far).

Mason City beat Dowling, 57-43. It was the Maroons’ first loss in Iowa Conference play, and the Mohawks — now 6-2 overall — made it look almost effortless.

“Dowling is a quality program,” Mason City coach Nick Trask told reporters after the game. “We had to match that. Every possession mattered.”

The Mohawks led 29-19 at halftime behind 4-of-8 shooting from deep. They continued a stout defensive effort to lead by as many as 21 in the fourth quarter. Seniors Kyle Lang and Zach Hendrickson scored 18 and 17, respectively, on a combined 12 of 21 shooting from the field.

It was no doubt an impressive victory — and one that sent a message to the rest of central Iowa that Mason City is, in fact, a team to be reckoned with moving forward.

3. Does anybody want to be No. 1?

Cedar Falls beat Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 67-62, on Tuesday. Since the last Class 4A AP Poll was released on Dec. 19, both of the top-ranked teams have lost. (Recall: Iowa City West lost to Cedar Rapids Prairie, 80-71, just before the holiday break.)

Cedar Falls sophomore A.J. Green moves the ball up the court against Council Bluffs Lincoln on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Cedar Falls sophomore A.J. Green moves the ball up the court against Council Bluffs Lincoln on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

It does raise the question: Does anybody want to be No. 1 in 4A? When the new poll gets released next week, it shouldn’t surprise anybody to see Sioux City East or even Council Bluffs Lincoln — both unbeatens — near the top. The Trojans have a case to back up there, too.

As of now, only two 4A teams remain unbeaten — Sioux City East and CB Lincoln — and they play each other on Jan. 10 and Jan. 31.

4. Tuesday’s sharpshooters

We appreciate good offenses here, so let’s take a moment to recognize some stellar 3-point shooting performances Tuesday.

Aplington-Parkersburg beat Grundy Center, 75-39. In the first half alone, the Falcons drained 10 3-pointers en route to a 52-19 lead. They would end up sinking 14, led by Alec Oberhauser and Grant Traux, who each made four.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Joe Smoldt scored 27 points in a 47-42 win over AGSWR. Smoldt shot 7 of 12 — from behind the arc. For the year, he’s hitting 50 percent of his 3-point shots.

Nevada struggled through December but may have something in freshman Tyler Sansgaard. He hardly played before Tuesday’s game at Hampton-Dumont, where he shot 9 of 12 and scored 27 — all from behind the arc. Not a bad debut.

Benton Community is back above .500 after an 83-55 win over Anamosa. As a team, Benton shot 17 of 32 from deep. Tyler Eggert and Spencer Touro were the catalysts, combining to go 14 of 21 from three. Eggert also posted a double-double, scoring 22 with 10 rebounds.

Last one: Cam Arkema of Twin Cedars (Bussey) posted 38 points in a 71-44 win over Iowa Christian Academy. The senior drained 8 of 16 from behind the arc — a breakout performance that upped his points-per-game average to 17.8.

5. Let’s talk about Des Moines Christian’s Ben Juhl

Can we discuss the tear this young man has been on lately? In his last four games — all victories — Juhl is 33 of 42 from the field, 11 of 16 from the deep and has totaled 90 points.

Des Moines Christian's Ben Juhl goes up for a shot while being guarded by Anamosa's Tyler Zumbach during Tuesday's game of the Class 2A Iowa Boys' High School State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.

Des Moines Christian’s Ben Juhl goes up for a shot while being guarded by Anamosa’s Tyler Zumbach during Tuesday’s game of the Class 2A Iowa Boys’ High School State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.

This is nothing new, of course. Last year, Juhl averaged 18.9 points and shot just north of 60 percent from the floor. But, goodness, his last four games have been incredible. Des Moines Christian plays at Van Meter on Friday.

6. Six good stat lines

Colfax-Mingo’s Jarod Nichols recorded a double-double on Tuesday night with 26 points and 12 boards — including seven offensive — in a 61-33 win, the Tigerhawks’ third straight.

South Hamilton’s Collin Hill put up 30 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in a 65-58 win over PCM, Monroe. It was also Hill’s second game this season with 30 or more points.

Waukee had two players post double-doubles on Tuesday: Sophomore Dylan Jones went for 14 points and 11 boards while senior Jacob Rau went for 18 points and 12 rebounds in a 65-40 win over Ankeny.

Des Moines North’s Jal Bijiek scored a quiet eight points and grabbed another seven rebounds in a 74-45 win over Roosevelt, but he also blocked six shots, which is quite a few more than some teams have this season.

Garner-Hayfield-Ventura’s James Betz scored 20 and pulled down 12 rebounds in a 69-50 win over Clear Lake. Betz, a sophomore, also blocked three shots and recorded three steals.

7. Three players hit 1,000 points

Three players hit the 1,000-point mark for their careers on Tuesday.

Iowa City West’s Connor McCaffery hit 1,000 during the Trojans’ 92-56 win over Cedar Rapids Washington. McCaffery finished with 22 points.

Newton’s Connor Gholson reached 1,000 points in a 78-51 win over Grinnell. Gholson finished the night with 20 points.

Juhl also cracked 1,000 points on Tuesday when Des Moines Christian’s 80-50 win over West Central Valley (Stuart). Juhl finished with 26 points.

8. CIML games to watch on Friday

Here are three big CIML games to watch this Friday:

Des Moines Hoover (5-3) at Des Moines North (6-3). North won the first game, 65-61, at Hoover. This second go-around should be just as fun.

Waukee (6-2) at West Des Moines Valley (7-2). The Warriors won the first meeting, 56-52, in December, and are aiming for the season sweep.

Johnston (5-3) at Mason City (6-2). The Dragons rocked the Mohawks, 65-43, back in early December. This rematch should be the goods.

9. Other good matchups

Here are three other games around Iowa to watch this Friday:

Colo-NESCO (7-2) at Dunkerton (6-1). The Royals are riding a four-game winning streak into this Iowa Star Conference showdown. Dunkerton, meanwhile, just lost its first game of the season on Tuesday.

Pella (6-1) at Newton (6-1). Two high-powered offenses going head to head in this Little Hawkeye battle. Expect lots and lots of points.

Ryan Van Wyk of Pella puts up a shot in the boys 3A semifinal game against Xavier Thursday, March 10, 2016.

Ryan Van Wyk of Pella puts up a shot in the boys 3A semifinal game against Xavier Thursday, March 10, 2016.

Muscatine (4-3) at Bettendorf (5-2). The Bulldogs have lost their two games by a combined four points, and have lost just once to an Iowa team. Muscatine will lean on Joe Wieskamp, 4A’s leading scorer, to snag its first win of 2017.

10. Parting shot

Expect the CIML to start separating itself over the next couple of weeks.

This isn’t exactly a take that will incite any fire emojis, but the first few are always crazy because everybody is beating everybody, and teams are still toying with lineups and playing styles. The parity is evident, no doubt, but teams will begin to emerge in each conference as the new year progresses.

Early picks to win each conference — Central: Ames; Iowa: Dowling Catholic; Metro: Des Moines North.

Cody Goodwin covers high school sports, college basketball recruiting and Drake athletics for the Des Moines Register. Reach him at (816) 582-0633, email him at  cgoodwin2@dmreg.com , or send him a tweet at  @codygoodwin .

Updated CIML standings:

Central Conference:

West Des Moines Valley, 7-2 overall (3-1 Central)

Ames, 6-2 (3-1)

Waukee, 6-2 (3-1)

Ankeny, 4-4 (2-2)

Ankeny Centennial, 4-4 (1-3)

Southeast Polk, 1-7 (0-4)

Iowa Conference:

Fort Dodge, 5-2 overall (3-0 Iowa)

West Des Moines Dowling Catholic, 5-2 (2-1)

Johnston, 5-3 (3-1)

Mason City, 6-2 (1-2)

Urbandale, 4-4 (1-3)

Marshalltown, 1-7 (0-3)

Metro Conference:

North, 6-3 overall (4-0 Metro)

Hoover, 5-3 (3-1)

Roosevelt, 5-3 (2-2)

East, 1-6 (1-2)

Lincoln, 1-7 (1-3)

Ottumwa, 1-7 (0-3)

@media screen and (max-width: 736px) {
h3.presto-h3 {font-family: “Futura Today Demi” !important;
padding-bottom: 30px;
padding-top: 15px;
}

.presto-h2 {
padding: 10px 20px;
font-size: 150%;
}
}

h3.presto-h3 {
font: 18px ‘Futura Today Demibold’;
}

h2.presto-h2 {}

.presto-h2 {}