Cubs nearly flawless in rout over Bombers

Story and photos by Joe Randleman
Cubs nearly flawless in rout over Bombers

HUXLEY - Everything came together at the perfect time for the Nevada boys’ basketball team Saturday as the Cubs turned in a masterpiece, whipping rival Ballard, 65-42, at Huxley.

Nevada hadn’t beaten Ballard since knocking off the Bombers three times during the 2006-07 season. The Cubs entered Friday’s game not only trying to get that monkey off their backs, but also trying to rebound from a 53-43 home loss to Gilbert the night before.

On Saturday, Nevada played like a team on a mission. The Cubs hit their outside shots, created points off turnovers, closed the Ballard driving lanes defensively and won the battle on the boards to churn out their most impressive win of the season.

“We haven’t beaten Ballard in a long time,” Nevada senior Bennett Thompson said. “It’s fun to beat them. We’re really coming around - everyone is doing their part.”

Thompson hit two big early 3-pointers to help Nevada take a 15-6 lead. Ballard rallied to within 17-15 early in the second quarter, but a putback by Joseph Heintz and three-point play by Matt Chitty inside regained the momentum for Nevada.

At the half Nevada held a 32-21 lead. The Cubs then scored the first five points of the second half as Thompson hit another 3-pointer and Cole Gidel scored off a steal in the first one minute, 10 seconds of the half.

Ballard closed within 39-29 on back-to-back baskets from Kolby Jensen. But Gidel countered with two baskets of his own and Nevada eventually pushed its lead to 52-35 by the end of the third quarter.

Gidel and Thompson hit consecutive 3-pointers at the start of the fourth quarter to push Nevada’s lead to 23 points. The Cubs never let their lead get less than 20 points the rest of the way to earn a statement victory heading into Christmas break.

“I really do think we caught them off guard,” Gidel said. “I don’t think they were expecting us to come out and play as hard as we did. We were both coming off losses last night and I think we were the harder-working team out on the floor today. Everybody contributed today - it was a big win for the team.”

Nevada outplayed Ballard in nearly every phase of the game.

The Cubs shot 47 percent from the field and made 8 of 16 3-pointers. Ballard shot 32 percent overall and made just 2 of 20 from downtown.

Nevada forced 18 Bomber turnovers and only committed 12. The Cubs also held a 32-28 rebounding advantage for a bigger Ballard team.

Gidel had another great individual game for Nevada.

He scored 23 points on 10 of 21 shooting, made 3 of 6 3-pointers and totaled six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

But it was great contributions from other players that made Nevada unstoppable on Saturday. Two other players scored in double figures, a third just missed the mark and several individuals keyed the dominant Cub defensive performance.

“Other teams emphasis guarding me and I love that because that gets open looks for my teammates,” Gidel said. “It’s fun to see them succeed and it helps us win ball games when everyone is knocking down shots.”

Thompson hit 4 of 6 3-pointers - all four trifectas coming at key times - as he totaled 12 points, five rebounds and two assists.

“I got pretty open 3s,” Thompson said. “Cole attacks a lot and they collapse on him, so I just shoot them when I’m open. It’s like playing horse in the back yard.”

Sophomore Luke Merfeld came up huge off the bench in the low post for Nevada. Merfeld battled a long and athletic Ballard team to finish with 11 points and five rebounds.

Chitty and A.J. Strottman also provided ample support inside. Chitty had eight points, four rebounds and two blocks and Strottman ended up with four points, seven rebounds, two assists and one steal.

Heintz contributed five points, four rebounds and four assists; Trent Stahl had two points, assists and steals apiece; Macade Matuska came away with two steals and Tyler Shafer chipped in one assists for the Cubs.

The victory put Nevada at 4-3 heading into Christmas break. Ballard suffered its third loss in a row, falling to 2-5.

Jaden Moody led Ballard with 11 points, four rebounds and two blocks versus the Cubs. Max Stoltz finished with nine points and two steals and Jensen had six points and two assists for the Bombers.

Nevada 65, Ballard 42

N 15 17 20 13 - 65

B 11 10 14 7 - 42

Nevada (65) - Cole Gidel 10-21 0-0 23, Bennett Thompson 4-7 0-0 12, Luke Merfeld 4-7 3-8 11, Matt Chitty 3-7 2-3 8, Joseph Heintz 2-4 0-1 5, A.J. Strottman 2-4 0-0 4, Trent Stahl 1-3 0-0 2, Macade Matuska 0-1 0-0 0, Tyler Shafer 0-1 0-0 0.

Totals: 26-55 5-12 65.

3-point field goals (8): Thompson 4, Gidel 3, Heintz. Rebounds (32): Strottman 7. Assists (17): Gidel 5.

Steals (10): Gidel 4.

Blocks (2): Chitty 2.

Ballard (42) - Kolby Jensen 3-11 0-1 6, Jaden Moody 4-11 3-4 11, Austin Edwards 1-3 0-0 3, Max Stoltz 4-5 1-2 9, Kobe Schulze 1-4 2-2 4, Kaleb Odden 0-4 0-0 0, Trey Drummond 0-1 2-2 2, Cade Wilson 2-2 0-0 4, Tyler Ihle 1-8 0-0 3.

Totals: 16-49 8-11 42.

3-point field goals (2): Edwards, Ihle.

Rebounds (28): Wilson 7. Assists (5): Jensen 2.

Steals (10): Edwards 2, Stoltz 2, Schulze 2, Ihle 2.

Blocks (3): Moody 2.

NEVADA - Nevada had a poor start and couldn’t make up the difference in a 53-43 Heart of Iowa Conference loss to rival Gilbert Friday at the Nevada High School Field House.

The Cubs came out flat against the Tigers, falling behind 18-5 after one quarter. They pulled within 29-24 at the half, but another offensive drought in the third quarter halted their momentum.

Gilbert took a 39-30 lead into the final period and fended off Nevada over the final eight minutes to drop the Cubs to 3-3 in the HOIC.

Nevada shot just 2 of 13 from 3-point range and the Cubs only made 14 of 41 field goals overall. Nevada went 13 of 23 from the foul line and had 26 rebounds and 12 steals as a team.

Cole Gidel did most of the damage for Nevada on offense. Gidel put up 22 points and also had five steals.

Joseph Heintz finished with six points and three rebounds; Matt Chitty had five points, three rebounds and one block and A.J. Strottman recorded three points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Cubs.

Adam Baker led Gilbert with 21 points. Ryan Blum and Ryan Fleener each scored seven points for the Tigers, who improved to 5-1 both overall and in the HOIC.

Gilbert 53, Nevada 43

G 18 11 10 14 - 53

N 5 19 6 13 - 43

Gilbert (53) - Adam Baker 9 2-3 21, Ryan Blum 2 3-5 7, Austin Graber 1 2-6 4, Ryan Fleener 2 3-4 7, Schuyler Hop 1 0-0 2, Will Turner 2 0-2 4, Steven Lawrence 2 0-0 6, Zach Becker 1 0-0 2, Cody Dvorak 0 0-0 0, Matt Barragy 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 20 10-20 53.

3-point field goals (3): Lawrence 2, Baker.

Nevada (43) - Cole Gidel 8-17 5-9 22, Tyler Shafer 1-3 0-0 2, Trent Stahl 0-0 0-0 0, A.J. Strottman 1-3 1-2 3, Bennett Thompson 0-3 1-2 1, Macade Matuska 0-0 0-0 0, Luke Merfeld 0-1 4-6 4, Joseph Heintz 2-8 1-2 6, Matt Chitty 2-6 1-2 5.

Totals: 14-41 13-23 43. 3-point field goals (2): Gidel, Heintz.

Rebounds (26): Strottman 6. Assists (7): Strottman 3.

Steals (12): Gidel 5.

Blocks (2): Thompson, Chitty.

STORY CITY - A tremendous comeback came up just short for Nevada in a 73-72 loss to Roland-Story in overtime Dec. 15 at Story City.

The Cubs were completely dominated in the first eight minutes of play. By the time the second quarter started, they were down 26-9.

But a veteran Nevada team didn’t panic. The Cubs settled down defensively and began to chip away at the Norseman advantage.

Nevada closed within 33-24 at the half. The Cubs then pulled within one point, 44-43, heading into the fourth quarter.

In the final period Nevada did enough to pull even and force overtime with the score knotted at 59-59.

The extra period provided an exciting stretch of play as the two teams continued to go back and forth. In the end, Roland-Story did just enough to stave off Nevada’s attempt at a comeback victory.

Free throws played the deciding factor in the game. Nevada made 14 of 24 foul shots, but Roland-Story was an outstanding 25 of 30 from the line as a team.

Roland-Story also had 13-11 advantage in steals. Nevada shot better from the field at 44 percent to the Norsemen’s 33-percent effort and the Cubs also had a 41-35 rebounding advantage.

Both teams did well from 3-point range as they each drained 10 3-pointers.

Cole Gidel had 22 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in a losing effort for Nevada. Joseph Heintz hit four 3-pointers and tallied 14 points and five rebounds and Trent Stahl went 3 of 3 from long range in finishing with 11 points and three steals.

Matt Chitty added nine points, four rebounds and one block and Tyler Shafer put up nine points, six rebounds and four assists for the Cubs.

John Barclay had 17 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and three assists to lead a balanced Roland-Story attack. Tyler Hovick finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists, Colin Greene hit four 3-pointers and put up 16 points and Alex Teig recorded 10 points and eight rebounds for the Norsemen.

Roland-Story 73, Nevada 72 (OT)

N 9 15 19 16 13 - 72

RS 26 7 11 15 14 - 73

Nevada (72) - Cole Gidel 7-13 6-7 22, Tyler Shafer 4-11 0-0 9, Trent Stahl 4-4 0-0 11, A.J. Strottman 0-3 2-4 2, Bennett Thompson 1-3 0-0 2, Macade Matuska 0-0 0-3 0, Luke Merfeld 1-4 1-4 3, Joseph Heintz 4-11 2-2 14, Matt Chitty 3-5 3-4 9.

Totals: 24-54 14-24 72. 3-point field goals (10): Heintz 4, Stahl 3, Gidel 2, Shafer. Rebounds (41): Gidel 7. Assists (15): Shafer 4.

Steals (11): Stahl 3, Strottman 3.

Blocks (1): Chitty.

Roland-Story (73) - Alex Teig 3-10 3-4 10, John Barclay 4-18 8-11 17, Austin Hobbs 3-8 0-0 7, Colten Arnold 0-0 0-0 0, Colin Greene 4-8 4-4 16, Tyler Hovick 3-10 8-9 16, Brandon McCoy 2-4 2-2 7, Will McGraw 0-0 0-0 0.

Totals: 19-58 25-30 72. 3-point field goals (10): Greene 4, Hovick 2, Teig, Barclay, Hobbs, McCoy.

Rebounds (35): Teig 8, McCoy 8.

Assists (11): Hovick 4.

Steals (13): Barclay 7.

Blocks (1): McCoy.