The Ottumwa Courier

January 11, 2013

Late-game heroics save Mustangs

ROGER THOMAS
Ottumwa Courier

BLOOMFIELD — With the Davis County boys basketball team clinging to a 47-45 lead Friday night, Damen Dixon had two steals at mid-court in the final 20 seconds to preserve a South Central Conference win over Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont. Davis County downed E-B-F 50-45 in action in Bloomfield.

From the start, it was obvious that the two teams would be employing different strategies. The visiting Rockets sprinkled in some perimeter scoring to go with the play of their dominant big man, Christian Bambrook. Bambrook would have his second straight triple-double. His night included 17 points, 15 rebounds, and 14 blocked shots. His presence in the lane also had a lot to do with the Mustang game plan.

“Christian (Bambrook) is a smart defender and does a good job of protecting the rim,” said E-B-F coach Travis Stout. “Teams have attacked him before, so he was ready.”

Attack him they did. The smaller, quicker players for DC continually took the ball at the basket. The really strong interior passing by the Mustangs helped to offset the big number of blocked shots.

“We do a lot of drills daily that are designed for in-close play,” said Mustang coach Jeff Graves. “Most of the time tonight, we got what we needed in the post.”

The opening quarter was close throughout and three perimeter Mustangs combined for the 10 DC points. Bambrook had six of the 11 Rocket points at the end of one.

Davis County held two early leads in the second eight minutes but a 3 by Trevor Swartz gave E-B-F the lead that they would take into the break. Swartz would complement Bambrook’s five points with seven from the perimeter. Two of his scores came after he converted steals into baskets. Park Mikels had six in the quarter for Davis County but the visitors led 25-22 at the half.

Dixon opened the third with a drive down the lane to pull the Mustangs within one.

“My speed helped me split the front of their zone,” said Dixon.

The Mustangs tied it before the visitors used a 5-0 run to go up 30-25. Jevin Jensen ended the run with a 3. Mikels answered with the first two of his nine third quarter points to cut the lead to three at 30-27. Three different times in the quarter E-B-F pushed their lead to six. Mikels would keep attacking the taller Bambrook to keep the Mustangs within reach.

“I just tried to go hard to the hole without forcing shots,” said Mikels. “Some of the time it took something a little crafty to get the shot off.”

Two late free throws by Trevor Leffler gave the Rockets a 41-36 lead heading to the fourth.

DC opened the final eight minutes with six straight to go up 42-41. Mikels had the score for the lead, but the two previous baskets came from Wyatt Garmon. Garmon would have four points, four rebounds, and two blocks during his critical minutes on the floor.

“I try and use my size however I need to,” said Garmon. “I think it helps me defend around the basket.”

Bambrook’s last basket of the game came at the midpoint of the final quarter. His score gave the visitors a 43-42 lead.

“I really think I did a better job with my defensive position late in the game” added Mikels. “It just made him catch the ball in some bad positions”.

Two free throws by Swartz gave the visitors their final lead at 45-44 with just over two minutes to play. E-B-F would be done scoring for the game.

The Mustangs used four of six free throws around Dixon’s two picks to seal the win.

“They (DC) really stepped up their defense late in the game,” said Stout.

Graves talked about how his team is rounding into shape after opening the season with seven straight road games.

“We fought through some tough times on the road. I think that we did a nice job tonight with our defensive game plan and I know that we were able to maintain a great team attitude. Now with a bunch of home games, hopefully it will really pay-off.”

E-B-F falls to 6-6, 0-5 in the SCC with the loss while the Mustangs move to 6-5 and 3-1 after the win.

Davis County 50, E-B-F 45

EBF        11     14  16   4    —    45    

DC         10     12  14  14    —    50    

EBF (45) — Jensen 8, Leffler 6, Swartz 11, Bambrook 17, Brandon Plate 3. Totals 18-54 5-8 45.

3-point goals — 4-19 (Jensen 2, Swartz, Plate). Fouled out — Leffler. Rebounds — 33 (Bambrook 15). Assists — 13 (Leffler 5). Steals — 8 (Swartz 3). Blocks — 15 (Bambrook 14). Total fouls — 14. Turnovers — 22.

DC (50) — Colton Roberts 4, Dixon 8, Calvin Utt 9, Mikels 21, Kyle Birchmier 3, Garmon 4, Justin Utt 1. Totals 20-58 10-18 50.

3-point goals — 0-5. Fouled out —none . Rebounds — 34 (Roberts 7, Birchmier 7). Assists — 6 (C. Utt 4). Steals — 13 (Dixon 5, Mikels 5). Blocks — 4 (Garmon 2). Total fouls — 13. Turnovers — 16.