ALBIA — The Albia Blue Demons used full-court pressure to take control of their non-conference boys’ basketball game Friday night. Albia (7-1) downed the visiting Indians 55-38.
“Their defense leads to a lot of their offense,” said Oskaloosa coach Zach Tremmel. “We didn’t do a good job of handling their pressure.”
Matt Baker, Albia’s point guard and one of the top scorers in the state, got the Blue Demons off to a 6-1 lead with four points. The Indians fought back to lead at 7-6 after Ryan Reiter’s second score.
Baker then buried a 3-pointer and Albia led 9-7. Reiter scored again to tie it at nine, but Blake Bayer’s 3 gave the Blue Demons a 12-9 lead at the quarter.
Albia upped the lead to 16-9 after two baskets to open the second. Mason Cox was involved in both as he hit Victor Sanders with an alley-oop pass on an out-of-bounds play, then scored to end the mini-run.
Two 3-pointers by Jack Moore pulled the Indians to within 16-15 at the midpoint of the second. Albia head coach Kevin Archer then changed the defensive sets for the Blue Demons, allowing the home team to finish the first half on a 12-2 run.
“We didn’t like our early defensive looks,” said Archer. "The three-quarter court press seemed to be a good fit for dropping back into the zone we were playing.”
Baker would add five more points during the run and would have 14 of his 21 points in the opening half.
“I think it’s important for me to get off early scoring,” said Baker. “I think it helps open up some things for my teammates when I do.”
Another one of the things that contributed to the run was the Blue Demon rotation off the bench. At some point in every quarter, Ryan Sarver, Luke Sarver and Bleke Bayer are at the scorer’s table ready to check in. Each contributed to the Albia win.