Consistent strong play throughout the entire game helped Nodaway Valley’s boys’ basketball team knock off a two-loss Clarke team Monday, Jan. 10 at home.
The Wolverines came into the non-conference tilt with five straight losses, dating back to their first win, a 74-53 decision over Wayne on Dec. 10. This one wasn’t as dominant on the scoreboard, but it was perhaps more fun.
Nodaway Valley (2-8, 1-5 in Pride of Iowa Conference) came away with the 62-56 win after losing games earlier in the last seven-day stretch to Mount Ayr, 64-41 Jan. 4 at Wells Fargo Arena and Lenox, 73-57 at home Friday, Jan. 7.
“We play so hard, and I can’t be mad at that at all, so today the credit’s all to those guys [on the court]. To see the poise we had, the way we handled ourselves and the way we conducted ourselves throughout the whole game,” Nodaway Valley head coach Jeremy Blake said. “We weren’t intimidated by their size. That’s a big team there. I emphasized with them to go at them and attack them. We did exactly what we wanted to try to do in our system.”
The Wolverines came out shooting well early but trailed 11-9 after the first quarter.
The home team shot well from the 3-point line in the second quarter and effectively got trips to the free throw line, extending its lead to as many as 13 points in that period before the Indians crept back in, getting a couple of crucial shots that brought them to within 40-36 on a 5-0 run to start the first few minutes of the third quarter. Nodaway Valley led 40-31 at halftime.
“Keeping to our pace on offense and taking what they give us was big early,” said junior Avery Phillippi. “We just needed to look for our teammates to score the ball when they’re open and get good looks. Boxing out and rebounding is also key.”
The Wolverines called timeout with 2:46 to go in the third, clinging to a 47-43 edge, and led 50-49 at the end of the third quarter.
Clarke’s Spruceton Buddenhagen tied the game at 52-52 with 7:28 remaining when he was fouled on a made layup and sank the free throw. The teams traded leads until Nodaway Valley had a 3-pointer from junior Boston DeVault with 6:24 to give NV a 55-54 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Wolverines were 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and 6-of-9 there in the second half.
“There for awhile we were on a long stretch where neither team was scoring, so whoever got the next points was critical. Someone needed to step up. It happened to be me, I put them in and we got the W,” said senior Matthew Weber, who was 2-for-2 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter. “When you’re down there’s a lot of pressure on you. It’s nice being ahead and having a few points to work with.”
DeVault connected on five treys in the game, finishing with 25 points. Phillippi, back after missing recent games due to illness, scored 17. Jack Cooley paced the Indians with 18, Bo Otto scored 12 and Buddenhagen 10.
“We were extremely patient. I wanted to make sure, in our offense, that we got to the pick and roll to get those big guys out and make them guard us on the perimeter because I felt that opened things up for us in the lane for us to drive, dump down or kick out,” Blake said. “Knocking in free throws, we were 18-of-23 from the free throw line, which is great. We shot eight total free throws in our two games last week. Finishing strong with the ball, pump faking because they jump at everything, getting them in foul trouble, I felt that was a big piece.”
NV’s game against Mount Ayr was part of the Iowa Wolves High School Showcase. The Raiders were led with 27 points from Jaixen Frost. DeVault led the Wolverines in that game with 18. Junior Blake Lund led the team with nine rebounds.
Against Lenox, senior Nathan Russell scored 14 while DeVault and Weber had 13 each. DeVault finished with eight rebounds and six steals.
Nodaway Valley hosts East Union Friday and Panorama Saturday night. On Tuesday, Southwest Valley visits Greenfield.