SPRINGVILLE - It’s rare to play a game on Monday night, but that’s exactly what the Springville boys basketball team did Monday, Jan. 6, hosting Waterloo Christian.
For coach Nick Merritt, the timing couldn’t have been better.
“After our setback the previous Friday (Jan. 3 at Alburnett), we were happy to be able to get back on the court relatively quickly in order to refocus and get back to playing the way we wanted to play,” said Merritt, as his team did that and more in a lopsided 75-51 rout over the visiting Regents.
“I was happy that our guys came out with a little bit of energy and played at a tempo that better suits our team. While we did not shoot the ball well, we were able to get a lot of possessions and lot of shots up by forcing 30 turnovers, having 22 steals and having 19 offensive rebounds.”
The game also saw a breakout performance from sophomore Luke Menster, who scored 12 of his career-high 25 points in the opening frame as the Orioles (7-2, 2-1) flew to a 17-4 advantage at the horn and never looked back.
“Beyond the numbers, we looked like a team that was determined to get back on track,” Merritt said. “We played with a greater sense of urgency and effort.”
The hosts scored 20 more points in the second stanza, a frame that saw both offenses heat up as the two teams combined to tally 38 in the stretch, but a huge 23-9 third quarter run provided by Springville made sure beyond a shadow of doubt who was going to win this game.
Menster was sensational connecting on 10-of-20 shots while also ripping down 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. Alex Koppes had another big night as well scoring 22 points, drilling two of the Orioles’ three total 3-point shots in the game while adding five assists and four steals to a sensational all-around line.
Rhenden Wagaman keyed the revived defensive effort coming up with seven of Springville’s 22 steals while Kyle Koppes added six more.
The Orioles started another winning streak Tuesday, Jan. 7, rolling to an 86-43 rout over visiting East Buchanan in a game that was never in doubt.
Menster scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the opening quarter as Springville exploded to a 23-6 lead and then extended it to 52-15 at the half pouring in 29 second quarter points with an amazing array of offensive skills while also holding the Buccaneers to a mere nine in the frame.
“We had not had any back-to-back games all season, so we were interested to see how we would come out and play on limited prep,” Merritt said. “The focus going into the game was again playing at the tempo we feel best benefits is, and I felt if we did that, we could have a successful night.
“Needless to say, we played extremely well right from the start and were able to maintain good tempo throughout on both ends of the court.”
Even while holding an enormous 37-point halftime advantage, nothing changed for the Orioles coming out of the break in the third quarter as the hosts continued to roll going on a 25-7 spurt to lead 77-22 with just eight-minutes remaining.
“On the offensive end, we shot the ball from the 3-point line much better than we had and a lot of that had to do with getting good shots and not forcing contested ones,” Merritt said. “Defensively, we did a nice job of forcing quick shots and contested shots through the first three quarters and making things difficult on East Buchanan.”
The Orioles blistered the nets at a 59-percent clip (35-of-59) and were 11-of-20 from beyond the 3-point arc with Kyle Koppes and Wagaman each drilled four in the game.
Wagaman finished with 16 points while Bryce Wilson and Menster dished out six assists each for an offense that tallied an impressive 27 in the game on their 35 made baskets.