CORNING – Class 1A No. 10 Mount Ayr jumped out ahead early Tuesday night and never looked back against Southwest Valley, rolling to a 67-31 win.
The Raiders pulled ahead in the first quarter 11-5, quickly expanding their lead to 23-9 off a 10-0 run to cap the first quarter.
Mount Ayr poured it on with little resistance from Timberwolf defenders. With MA moving the ball well, and scoring with efficiency from both beyond the arc and in the paint, Raiders head coach Bret Ruggles’ primary concern was how the boys were going to come out and perform after some time away.
“Our worry was we had four days off. ... Friday off, Sunday off and we had no school Monday,” said Ruggles. “Our rules are that if we don’t have school we can’t practice, so not having a practice yesterday and not really practicing over the weekend, ... I thought the key for us tonight was we hit shots early.”
Shots fell in bunches for the Raiders in the first half, scoring 47 points to hold a 30-point lead going into the half. From three, the scores were plentiful as Mount Ayr landed seven 3-pointers to equal the same amount as 2-point scores in the first 16 minutes.
Freshman Jaixen Frost was the leader in the score book for the Raiders, scoring 17 points. Cayden Lambert scored 14 and Dawson Frost had 12.
The rise of Jaixen Frost around established players like Dawson Frost, Payton Weehler and Cayden Lambert has been quite the experience for Mount Ayr. As the team’s third leading scorer, he’s impressed his head coach with how he’s been able to hold his own against tough competition.
“I’m extremely impressed. When we first saw him this summer we kind of though we had something there,” said Ruggles. “The first week of practice it was everything we were missing. Payton (Weehler) is a fantastic point guard, he’s great at what he can do, ... He can push tempo where Jaixen sort of takes that away from him and there’s someone who can control the ball.”
Ruggles added Jaixen’s defensive skills have improved this season along with slight adjustments to his offensive skills, citing his role has been increasing each game as the season progresses.
With the game out of reach by halftime, Ruggles said he took advantage of the second half and used it as an opportunity to prep for the Raiders’ next game – Thursday’s bout with Central Decatur, in Leon at 7 p.m.
“Once we got to halftime and to the continuous clock, we started to work on offense on how we thought we could get to Central Decatur. We didn’t get to practice tonight, so let’s use this as a practice. I did keep some starters out more, .. we tried to kind of blend this into a practice once we got to 30 (point lead).”
On the other end, Southwest Valley’s struggles continue as the loss makes it 3-8 on the season.
Frustration was evident for SWV head coach Kyle Bashor and the Timberwolves, who were on the losing end of a Mount Ayr contest for the second time this season.
“Last game we were able to stay with them a little bit longer and then it went downwards, where this one we kind of got behind early and did some better things in the second half,” Bashor said.
Things improved for the Timberwolves in the second half as the defense perked up, limiting MA to 11 and nine points in the third and fourth quarters, respectively. Nine points in the fourth quarter is the lowest total in a quarter by the Raiders so far this season.
“The second half defensively, we kind of did some good things,” said Bashor. “It was tough. They made shots that first half that we just couldn’t deal with.”
Southwest Valley was led by Garrett Marn, scoring 13 points. He was the only Timberwolf in double digits.
“Garrett Marn made some outside shots that should get him some confidence going from here, which is real good,” said Bashor.
Next up for the Timberwolves is Stanton, at home, Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Mount Ayr 67, Southwest Valley 31
MA (67) — 23 24 11 9
SWV (31) — 9 8 4 10
MOUNT AYR (FG FT PTS) — Totals —22 16-22 67. Jaixen Frost 6 3-4 17, Cayden Lambert 5 2-2 14, Dawson Frost 4 3-4 12, Payton Weehler 2 2-2 8, Dalton Elwood 2 2-2 6. 3-point goals – 7 (Lambert 2, Weehler 2, J. Frost 2, D. Frost 1). Team fouls — 11. Fouled out — None.
SOUTHWEST VALLEY (FG FT PTS) — Totals — 11 6-9 31. Garret Marn 5 0-0 13, Tucker TePoel 2 2-2 6, Tyler Pearson 0 4-7 4, Gabe Fuler 1 0-0 2, Greg Parton 1 0-0 2, Adam Harris 1 0-0 2, Blaine Venteicher 1 0-0 2. 3-point goals – 3 (Marn 3). Team fouls — 15. Fouled out — Trevor Abraham.