Junior guard Conor Riordan isn’t just the leading scorer for the Ankeny boys basketball team.
He is the Hawks’ floor leader.
Without him, Ankeny suffered a 67-34 loss at Waukee in its CIML Eastern Division opener on Friday.
“Conor got home from school, and he wasn’t feeling well,” Ankeny coach John Petersen said of Riordan, who was averaging 17 points per game. “He came to the game with us, but he still had a 102-degree temperature so there was no way that he could play. That was obviously a big loss for us, but we have to be able to play without him.”
Ankeny (2-2) kept the game close in the first quarter. Tanner Rinker banked in a 3-pointer to give the Hawks an 11-9 lead, then Jonah Plummer later made another 3-pointer to put Ankeny back in front, 16-15.
But it was all downhill from there.
“You never want to lose any of your players, but that’s part of growing up,” Petersen said. “We needed to play four quarters like we did the first quarter, and we just didn’t get it done.”
Waukee (3-1) took control of the game behind Iowa State football recruit Anthony Nelson, who ignited a 20-0 run that gave the Warriors a 35-16 lead. He scored the final three points of the first quarter, then opened the second period with a huge block that he converted into a layup.
Nelson then showed off his passing skills, feeding teammate Jacob Rau for another basket.
“Both Nelson and (Nebraska recruit Michael) Jacobson are a handful,” Petersen said. “They’re Division I athletes, and they’re solid kids, and they played well. We actually had them both in foul trouble, but we just did not execute together offensively as a team, and that’s something we obviously need to work on. We scored five points in the second and third quarters combined.”
Waukee completed its run with a trio of 3-pointers by Michael Winger, Adam Rose and Trevor Allen. Winger led the Warriors with 15 points and six assists.
Jacobson had 12 points and seven rebounds. Nelson finished with eight points, six rebounds and four blocks in front of a crowd that included ISU defensive coordinator Wally Burnham.
Riley McCoy led Ankeny with eight points. Drew Maschoff added seven.
Ankeny 55, Johnston 38
The Hawks pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat visiting Johnston on Dec. 9 for their second straight victory.
Ankeny outscored the Dragons in the final period, 17-7, after Johnston rallied from a 31-16 halftime deficit to pull within 38-31.
“The key to the game was definitely our defense,” said Ankeny senior Cole Whitaker. “It’s the best game we’ve played defensively so far. We held them under 40 points by playing tough team defense, and we got some of their guys into foul trouble and got into their bench.”
Riordan led the Hawks with 14 points. He also had four assists.
Maschoff and Whitaker each added 10 points. Whitaker also grabbed six rebounds.
Ankeny finished with seven 3-pointers, while the Dragons had just one. Trystan Cummins, Maschoff and McCoy each made a pair of 3-pointers.
Jordan Binnie had nine points to lead Johnston (1-2).
“We had not been playing very good defense, so I think that was the first time we played good team defense for the entire game,” Petersen said. “We’re trying to teach the guys that if you play defense like that, it creates a little easier offense and it gets you in the flow of things a little quicker.”