By ROGER THOMAS
---- — 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.
Luke Sarver followed up his second quarter steal and two rebounds with a 3-pointer for a 26-17 Albia lead.
“We all have certain things we need to do coming off the bench,” said Luke. “I was glad to hit the 3, but my job is to play defense.”
After doubling up the Indians in the second quarter, 16-8, Albia used an 18-8 third to put the game out of reach.
Tanner Wynn broke the game open with consecutive baskets to open the third, opening with a two and then his 3-pointer put Albia up 35-17 just two minutes after the break.
“That was big,” said Tremmel. “We hoped that we could cut the 11-point lead under double figures, but those scores changed everything.”
Wynn, who would join Baker in double figures with 12, talked about the shots.
“We are really suited for the offense that we play,” Wynn said. “Our quickness lets us drive and kick it out. Coach tells us that if you’re open you need to let it go.”
Reiter’s two scores led the Indians in the third, but Baker would add six and the triumvirate of the Sarvers and Bayer contributed three steals, two rebounds, and five points as the Blue Demons led 46-25 after three.
The fourth quarter started with two quick baskets by Wynn before exiting the game with Albia up 52-28. Spencer Medlin’s 10 final-quarter points for Osky cut into the lead, but the outcome had been determined much earlier. Reserves from both sides closed out the 55-38 final.
“I think our scoring is going OK,” said Archer. “We know that Matt (Baker) will be a big part of our offense, but we have had different guys step up in different games. That will be big as we go forward.”
Oskaloosa (1-5) hosts Grinnell in Little Hawkeye Conference play tonight. Albia (7-1) hosts Davis County tonight in South Central Conference action.
ALBIA 55, OSKALOOSA 38
OSK 9 8 8 13 – 38
ALB 12 16 18 9 – 55
Osky (38) – Cayden Carter 2, Nate VanVeldhuizen 2, Spencer Medlin 13, Ryan Reiter 10, Dalton Bunnell 2, Jack Moore 8, Wade Votroubek 1. Totals 14-54 8-12 38.
3-point goals – 2-20 (Moore 2). Fouled out – Carter. Rebounds – 37 (Medlin 9, Reiter 9, Bunnell 9). Assists – 7 (Max Johnson 6). Steals – 7 (Medlin 3). Blocks – 3 (Reiter 2). Total fouls – 17. Turnovers – 24.
Albia (55) – Matt Baker 21, Tanner Wynn 12, Zach Hegen 2, Mason Cox 4, Victor Sanders 2, Luke Sarver 3, Blake Bayer 5, Ryan Sarver 3, Bret Freshwater 1, Preston Henderson 2. Totals 20-48 8-14 55.
3-point goals – 7-20 (Baker 2, L.Sarver, R. Sarver, Wynn 2, Bayer). Fouled out – none. Rebounds – 22 (Hugen 7). Assists – 10 (Baker 3, Hugen 3). Steals – 19 (Hugen 8). Blocks – none. Total fouls – 12. Turnovers – 20.