A big first half and a late push helped the IMS boys past Columbus Friday night at Hillcrest Union in Kalona 52-43. IMS got out to a hot start from the field leading 17-10 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter Iowa Mennonite turned up the heat with the full court press and closed the half on a 16-4 run, to take a 31-14 lead into the half. Following the game IMS Head Coach Dwight Gingerich talked about his team’s first half run.
“That was kind of an important run in the game, and I think the plus side of that is that we go into the half with some momentum. Probably the unfortunate part of that is that we didn’t come out and match that right away, and we kind of let up,” Gingerich said. “Columbus has some really good players, and they are really well coached, Mark is doing a great job with them. They did some really good things out there and if you’re not playing with a lot of focus, which at some points we weren’t, it hurt us.”
The second half saw Columbus switch to a box and one defense in an attempt to shut down Dallas Nye who was in the middle of a huge night. The transition worked and the Wildcats held IMS to just four points in the quarter as they began their comeback. Fueled by three point sharp shooting from Ricky Rivers and hustle plays from Chase Finke and Kennan Todd the Wildcats clawed back within five points early in the fourth quarter with the basketball. Columbus missed a layup on that possession, and it would be as close as they would get to completing the comeback. Following the game Columbus Head Coach Mark Beerends talked about his teams comeback and effort in the second half.
“Once we came out in the second half we decided to make a few changes defensively and went box and one to keep Nye from getting the ball and wear him down a bit. We played very well defensively and outscore them in the second half 29-18 in the second half, and it was due to our defense,” Beerends said. “We told the guys at half that we wanted to space it out a little bit, and see if we could get Ricky Rivers some one-on-one, and if they collapsed on Ricky, he was going to kick it out to one of our open shooters. We moved the ball very well, I’m not going to complain about it, we just need to work a little bit better on the offensive end. We had open looks, we had good looks at everything, they just couldn’t fall for us, and our guys; they battled.”
IMS went into a slow down offense at the end of the game and knocked down their free throws to seal the nine point win. Dallas Nye put on a show to lead IMS, the senior forward came up just shy of a triple double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Columbus was led by Todd’s 16 points, Finke added 11 and River’s had 10. With the win IMS is now 12-2 overall, 12-1 in conference play. Columbus falls to 3-12 overall and 3-10 in the SEISC.