SULLY — On the heels of its first conference defeat last Friday, the Lynnville-Sully boys basketball team wanted to make a statement on Monday.
That statement was heard loud and clear.
Jumping out to an 18-2 lead after the first quarter, the Hawks (9-2, 9-1 South Iowa Cedar League) were nearly automatic on offense and paired that with some tough defense to cruise past Iowa Valley by a final score of 64-36.
"Whenever you have a loss you want to respond, and the guys really came out focused on getting after it tonight," Hawks coach Nick Harthoorn said. "As a coach, that's just what you want to see."
A myriad of players got that 18-2 lead going, as juniors Darin Hofer and TJ Cunningham and seniors Nathan Russell and Brady Van Wyk all scored in the opening frame. Van Wyk and Russell each hit 3-pointers, which would be a common thread for the rest of the game, and the Hawk defense held the Tigers scoreless until a pair of free throws at the 2:07 mark.
Iowa Valley turned up the scoring a bit more in the second quarter, but so did the Hawks. In addition to the starters knocking down shots, freshman Connor Cullen came in off the bench and quickly dumped in two threes. At one point, the Hawks had hit four threes in a row, and Russell ended the half with one more from downtown to give L-S a 39-10 halftime lead.
Besides a short run with about three minutes left in the half, the Tigers were held completely in check on the offensive end. The Hawks didn’t open up too many points in transition, however, and scored nearly all of their points in a halfcourt game.
“It’s always nice when the ball’s going into the hole, and tonight our outside shot was going down,” Harthoorn said. “That’s always helpful, but some nights it’s not going to go down, so you need to bring other things to the table like energy on defense. Our defensive intensity was really strong and whenever you play that way, I feel like it creates offense as well.”
Despite Iowa Valley putting together its biggest offensive quarter in the third, the Hawks were able to extend their lead even further thanks to a few more threes. Senior Austin Roberts contributed six points in the frame and sophomore Austin Carney nailed a three-fourths court shot at the buzzer, but Lynnville-Sully still led 60-26 going into the fourth and earned the 35-point running clock mercy rule for some of the quarter.
“I feel like Iowa Valley made some adjustments at halftime that slowed us down a bit and forced us to do some different things,” Harthoorn said. “You’ve got to give them some credit in the second half, but we were able to get the clock running and the half went pretty quick.”
Cullen, senior Ryan Jensen and sophomore Jake Brand were just a few of the players off the Hawks’ bench that helped ice away the game in the fourth. L-S only managed four points in the shortened quarter, but also only surrendered 10 to a lineup that still featured most of the Tiger starters.
“It’s nice when everyone has the opportunity to get in the ballgame and contribute on the floor,” Harthoorn said. “We had a few guys come off the bench and make some nice plays for us, and that’s usually kind of a team builder when that can happen.”
Five Hawks — Hofer, Russell, Cunningham, Van Wyk and Cullen — all finished in double digits for points, while Roberts ended up leading all scorers with 15. The Hawks will take a few days off before heading to Keota on Friday. L-S opened the season with a 47-41 victory over the country’s most extroverted city.
Lynnnville-Sully 64, Iowa Valley 36
I — 2 8 16 10 — 36
L — 18 21 21 4 — 64
I — Roberts 15, Carney 7, Cooling 6, Schalbaugh 4, Krutsinger 2, Yardley 2
L — Hofer 12, Cullen 11, Russell 11, Cunningham 10, Brady Van Wyk 10, Cale Van Wyk 7, Brand 2, Jansen 1