Solid basketball teams can hurt you inside and on the perimeter.
The Albia Blue Demons used 34 points from postman Tanner Kellogg and 24 points from point guard Matt Baker to down Cardinal, 75-57, in opening round Class 2A district play Monday night in Eldon.
The win for the (13-9) Blue Demons matches them up with Prairie City-Monroe in second round action Thursday night in Monroe. PCM is 20-1 and ranked sixth.
The first quarter was evenly played and Cardinal led 16-15 after the first eight minutes. The teams traded leads and neither team led by more than three in the early going.
Kellogg’s second basket of the quarter gave the visitors a 6-5 lead. Dakota Showman then hit a two and a 3-pointer to give the Comets a 10-8 lead.
Baker buried a three to give the lead back to Albia. Baker would close out his seven point first with a basket but a 3-pointer by Cody Carter on an out of bounds play gave the Comets the one point lead.
Each team used a press in the second quarter with mixed results. Baker opened the second with a big time drive that he turned into a three point play and a two point Albia lead. Two baskets by Zach Hugen closed out the 7-0 run that gave the Blue Demons a 22-16 lead with three minutes gone in the quarter.
“We don’t live and die with the press - we like to choose our spots,” said Albia coach Kevin Archer. “I think it helped us early.”
Kellogg had seven points in the final minutes before halftime to keep Albia’s lead in the seven to eight point range.
Showman’s late basket cut the lead to six at the half, 32-26.
One of the special match-ups in this game was the battle between point guards Baker and Showman. The two quick playmakers neutralized each other in the opening half.
“Both of the point guards are quick and athletic and they both did a good job of controlling the tempo,” said Cardinal coach Jay Olson.
The Comets did a good job in the first half of limiting Baker or Kellogg for a quarter. It wasn’t until the third, that they both got off together.
Charlie Rachford scored for the Comets to cut the lead to four at 32-28. Baker answered with the first of his three 3’s in the quarter to push the lead to seven. The Comets cut the lead to two on two different occasions. A Showman 3-pointer was followed by a Brandon Potts basket and Cardinal was within 35-33.
Jonathan Pedersen’s basket kept Cardinal down just 37-35 near the midpoint of the third. Then the visitors went on a 12-0 run to take control at 49-35. Kellogg had six points in the run and Baker added two 3’s.
“It was fun playing against Showman’s quickness,” said Baker. “My teammates got me open and I had some good looks.”
Kellogg added 12 to Baker’s nine as the Blue Demons outscored Cardinal 23-14 in the third.
“They got a couple of steals and turned them into quick scores,” added Olson.
The 15-point Albia lead quickly went to 57-40 with Baker’s early basket. The next trip down the floor could have been big for each team as Baker picked up his fourth foul and headed to the bench with over seven minutes to play in the game.
With Baker on the bench, the role players for the Blue Demons stepped up. Five minutes later when Baker returned, Albia had actually upped the lead by one.
“We take a lot of pride in that and communicate the importance of roles all the time,” said Archer.
One of the guys who stepped up for the Blue Demons was back-up point guard Gabe Gravert.
“I just look for ways to help my teammates make plays,” said Gravert. “I just want to be solid on defense.”
Pedersen had the big Comet quarter with eight points but Kellogg dominated play at both ends and the Comets would never be closer than 16 for the rest of the game.
Kellogg finished off his 34 point night with 11 points in the fourth.
“My job is to be in the right place at the right time and our guys do a great job of getting me the ball on the block,” said Kellogg.
Kellogg had a monster double-double in the win. He added 18 rebounds in the game. Kellogg, the third leading rebounder in the state, holds all the Albia rebounding records as well.
“Rebounding is all about second chance points. Getting them on offense and not giving them up on the defensive boards,” added Kellogg.
The Blue Demons look forward to the chance to play PCM.
“It’s all about getting to this game and then playing the best game you can,” said Archer.
Class 2A, District 10 First Round
Albia 75, Cardinal 57
Alb 15 17 23 20 — 75
Card 16 10 14 17 — 57
Albia (75) — Matt Baker 24, Ryan Sarver 2, Zach Hugen 10, Austin Luse 2, Mason Cox 3, Tanner Kellogg 34. Totals 29-65 12-14 75.
3-point goals — 5-14 (Baker 4, Cox). Rebounds — 38 (Baker 18). Assists — 16 (Cox 4). Steals — 6 (Hugen 4). Blocks — 1 (Kellogg). Total fouls — 12. Turnovers — 9.
Cardinal (57) — Dakota Showman 13, Charlie Rachford 14, Cody Carter 7, Brandon Potts 5, Jonathan Pedersen 10, Caleb Durflinger 8. Totals 23-52 7-14 57.
3-point goals — 4-14 (Showman 2, Carter 2). Rebounds — 27 (Showman 6). Assists — 9 (Showman 6). Steals — 3 (Showman, Rachford, Carter). Blocks — 7 (Potts 3). Total fouls — 12. Turnovers — 12.