PLEASANT HILL - There was a glimmer of hope in the first quarter for the Marshalltown boy's basketball team on Friday. But once Class 4A No. 8 Southeast Polk got going, the Rams were pretty tough to stop.
The Bobcats kept things close for the first 6 minutes of the opening quarter, but the Rams scored the final eight points of the frame and pulled away with a 14-0 run.
Marshalltown (1-6) never managed to recover after that as the Bobcats fell 80-26.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
MHS junior Austin Kluver, right, battles Southeast Polk’s Caleb Pavon for a rebound during the Rams’ 80-26 win in Pleasant Hill. Kluver finished with four points in the loss.
"They are the best transition team we have played all year and we just weren't sprinting back like we needed to," MHS coach Scott Smith said. "We work on it every day in practice, but for whatever reason, we just didn't get back and stop the ball.
"It was 11-9 and then all the sudden it was 25-9 and all of those baskets were in transition and were basically layup after layup."
Just five Bobcats scored in the game but only two had more than five. Marshalltown also never scored more than the nine they collected in the opening frame.
Southeast Polk 80, Marshalltown 26
At Pleasant Hill
MHS (1-6) - Aaron Hauser 0 0-0 0, Austin Kluver 1 2-2 4, Mason McCarville 4 0-0 10, Dylan Diveney 3 2-2 10, Connor Johnson 0 0-0 0, Grant Thimesch 0 1-2 1, Brady Arment 0 0-0 0, Michael Schrempf 0 0-0 0, Jacob Shirar 0 0-0 0, Hunter Chamberlin 0 0-0 0, Austin Lovin 0 0-0, Hunter Riedl 0 0-0 0, Christian Guido 0 0-0 0, Jordan Smith 0 0-0 0, Marco Yepez 0 1-2 1. TOTALS 8 6-11 26.
SOUTHEAST POLK (7-1) - Luke Hassman 4 1-2 9, Kody Williams 3 0-0 7, Nick Jeffries 3 2-2 8, Sean Gardner 5 0-0 10, Tucker Kamman 10 2-2 27, John Hartung 1 0-0 3, Treye Spencer 2 0-0 5, Caleb Pavon 0 3-5 3, Nick Arnold 0 0-0 0, Keaton Mershman 0 0-0 0, Carter Wright 2 0-0 4, Devin Gulick 1 2-2 4. TOTALS 31 10-16 80.
3-Point Goals - MHS 4 (McCarville 2, Diveney 2), SEP 8 (Kamman 5, Jeffries, Williams, Spencer, Hartung).
Senior Dylan Diveney and Mason McCarville each scored a team-high 10 points for the Bobcats, who scored a season-low in points. Austin Kluver finished with four and both Marco Yepez and Grant Thimesch made one of their two free throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
"They are an outstanding team. They are ranked for a reason," Smith said. "We didn't shoot the ball well tonight and their half-court defense was good. Our execution was fine, and we were getting good shots. We just didn't make shots.
"We have to be mentally tough though and continue to play even though our shots aren't falling. That's an area we need to grow on. We really needed to dig down and play defense. That affected us tonight."
Southeast Polk (7-1) came into the game with just two guys scoring in double figures. That is a bit misleading though and it showed Friday as 10 Rams broke into the scoring column. Five of those players scored at least seven.
Tucker Kamman outscored the Bobcats by himself, putting in 27 points and burying five of the Rams' eight 3-pointers in the win. He had 19 of those by halftime, and Sean Gardner also had 10 points. Most of Luke Hassman's nine points came in the third quarter - when the 35-point continuous clock kicked in - and Nick Jeffries scored eight points but also had a bunch of assists.
"It starts with Jeffries and Kamman," Smith said. "Those two guys are all-state players. They don't pass the eye test when you first look at them, but they have 8-10 good basketball players. It was a tough matchup for us."
Smith said the Bobcats won't spend too much time worrying about this loss. He needs his squad to be ready for three winnable games next week. That slate includes a home game against Urbandale on Tuesday, a home contest with Boone on Thursday and a road challenge against Des Moines East on Friday.
"We're going to learn from this and move on," Smith said. "We won't spend time harping on the loss. It will be good to get back home after this tough one tonight. We need to bounce back with what we believe are three winnable games next week."
The previous season-low in points was the 31 the Bobcats scored at the Roundhouse against No. 5 Ankeny Centennial. The worst offensive performance of the season came after MHS scored a season-high 85 points just before winter break. Kamman came into the game averaging 20 points per game, while Jeffries averages 16.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and three assists per game. The Rams' only loss this year came against Linn-Mar. They also have wins over Class 3A ranked Dallas Center-Grimes, 4A No. 9 Waukee and previously ranked West Des Moines Valley. The combined record of the six schools that have defeated Marshalltown this year is 31-10.