WEST DES MOINES, Ia. — When the buzzer sounded Tuesday night, marking the end of Des Moines Hoover’s 48-29 win over Dowling Catholic, the announcer leaned into the microphone and congratulated Huskie coach Courtney Henderson on his 150th career victory.
“That’s unbelievable,” said Henderson, the Hoover boys’ basketball coach. “My hat goes off to my kids. They really played hard tonight. We were lucky to come out here with a win.”
The game Tuesday night came and went like the many that did before — with the Hoover employing a suffocating defense. The Huskie defense ranks first in the state in points allowed, and helped them reach 16-4 overall with yet another sterling performance against Dowling (15-5).
Neither team scored until midway through the first quarter. Doug Wilson struck first with a bucket in the paint, sparking a 10-0 Hoover run. Dowling inched back to within 14-8 early in the second quarter, but the Huskies promptly responded with an 8-0 run and led 25-10 at the break.
“We knew we had to be physical at the point of attack, and I thought we did that tonight,” Henderson said. “And when we can get a couple of shots to fall, that always helps us. We knew, coming in, that we had to make a few shots.”
The Maroons could never fully recover after that, coming only as close as 12 points at the end of the third. Hoover then took the early portion of the fourth quarter to go up by as many as 20, using their stifling defense as a tool to turn Dowling turnovers and missed shots into offensive opportunities.
Wilson was the primary beneficiary on Tuesday, scoring 22 points on 9 of 15 shooting — and this was after he missed his first four shots from the field. He added three emphatic dunks to go along with five blocks.
“We just had that mindset that we weren’t going to get pushed around and that we were here to play,” Wilson said. “We knew we’d have to be physical with these guys. We had to execute our plays, make shots — and that’s what we did tonight.”
Aldreias Campbell added 13 points behind a trio of 3-pointers while Devonte Thedford and Kenny Quinn scored 7 and 6, respectively. The Maroons had both Sam Ingoli and Sam Olson score 10 points, but shot 11 of 44 as a team for the game — including 1 of 13 in the second quarter.
“They’re a great defensive team,” Dowling coach Mike O’Connor said. “They’re by far the best defensive team we’ve faced this year. They cause you to do things at a speed that you’re not accustomed to, and against them, you have to make tough shots.
“If you’re going to beat them, you have to make those shots. Obviously, with just 29 points, you can see we didn’t do that tonight.”
For Hoover, the victory is its 14th in its last 15 games, and its second against a team ranked in the latest Class 4A AP Poll — the Huskies dropped a narrow 33-32 game to second-ranked Waukee a week ago (Dowling is ranked 10th).
Henderson said these types of matchups will only better prepare his team for the postseason, which begins on Monday for 4A. The Huskies believe they can not only get back to Wells Fargo Arena for the state tournament but compete for the title as well.
“Any time you can get wins at this juncture of the season, it’s always a good thing,” Henderson said. “Gives you a little momentum going into the postseason.”
Des Moines Hoover (48) — Quinn 6, Thedford 7, Campbell 13, Wilson 22. Also played—Sebastiano, Jefferson, Collins, Edwards. Totals: 17-37, 7-14.
Dowling Catholic (29)—Olson 10, Kern 3, Ingoli 10, Bell 5, Yacinich 1. Also played — Coffin, Waggoner, Clark. Totals: 11-44, 5-11.
Hoover…12 13 6 17 — 48
Dowling…6 4 9 10 — 29
3-pointers — Hoover 5 (Campbell 3, Quinn 2), Dowling 2 (Olson 2). Fouls— Hoover 16, Dowling 16. Fouled Out — None. Technical Fouls — Hoover 1 (Quinn).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or send him a tweet at @codygoodwin.