ANAMOSA - It’s been a few years since the Anamosa boys’ basketball team can boast to having a three-game winning streak, but after the Raiders’ impressive 73-48 rout hosting Iowa City Regina Friday, Jan. 23, the program can now do exactly that.
“I am so proud of our kids, they just keep working at getting better and we are really starting to see that on the court,” said Anamosa boys basketball coach Kevin Barnes, who was on the sideline the last time the program won three straight games back in December of 2018 (vs. Monticello, North Cedar and Wilton).
“Regina tried to take same out of our offense with a box-and-one defense on him. Our guys did a great job of reacting to that and taking what was there.”
With Wilt getting an enormous amount of attention, Eli Lehrman and Andrew Morris rose to the occasion and took some of the pressure off of Wilt offensively, who still managed to score 13 points while just missing a rare triple-double adding 13 rebounds and eight steals.
“We just moved the ball so well,” said Barnes, as his team poured in 19 first quarter points and led by four at the horn before going on a 15-12 second quarter spurt taking a 34-27 advantage into the halftime break.
“We tell our guys, if the ball moves it always finds the open guy. It moved very well against Regina and our guys made shots. If we didn’t make shots, we got extra chances by hitting the offensive boards.”
Anamosa (9-5, 4-3) continued to play actively coming out of the break going on a 19-14 run before blowing the game wide open with huge 20-7 spurt over the game’s final eight-minute stretch.
“I thought our pressure wore them down,” Barnes said. “It was a tight game through one, but we pushed it out a bit at the half. We played really good in the third but missed a lay-up with three-seconds to go and they grabbed the rebound, took two dribbles and knocked down a three-quarter court shot at the buzzer. So, instead of being up 17 heading into the fourth we were only up 12.”
There was no need to worry however, Jake Jess drilled back-to-back 3-pointers early in the final frame and the Raiders never looked back.
“We have made a concentrated effort the last few games to work the ball inside and then out,” Barnes said. “Andrew, Sam and Zorrion (Robertson) are all becoming better and better for us in the post. When that happens, things open up all over the court, and that was the case again against Regina.”
Lehrman scored a career high 19 points to lead the hosts, including three treys while Morris added 12 to go with five rebounds. Grahm Humpal chipped in with nine points, four assists and four steals.
Anamosa started their week with a hard-fought 55-45 River Valley Conference victory hosting Bellevue Tuesday, Jan. 19.
“This was one of those game you just were not sure what to expect,” Barnes said. “We only had eight players in uniform. They were the only eight players eligible to play from our entire program, mostly because of COVID protocols.
“Those eight guys played really well.”
After the Raiders jumped out to a 15-7 first quarter lead, the Raiders gradually held on answering Bellevue runs with some their own to take the 10-point triumph.
“Bellevue kids always play physical and it often times leads to a choppy game,” Barnes said. “No exception here, but I thought our guys were the more physical team. Andrew and Sam were just so aggressive around the rim and when they didn’t get the ball thrown to them, they attacked the rim either off the dribble or on the offensive glass.”
Holding a 41-32 lead early in the final frame Caleb Otting stretched the Anamosa advantage back to double-digits and the Raiders never looked back as Wilt, Humpal and Morris all bit clutch shots down the stretch to keep the Comets at bay.
Wilt and Morris delivered double-double performances as each scored 16 points while Wilt added 13 rebounds and Morris 10 more. Humpal tallied 10 points and four assists.
“I thought Grahm made good decisions all night long and played one of his better games,” Barnes said. “Caleb is really shooting the ball well, and his overall play keeps getting better and better too.”