Blue Demons fall to fifth-ranked Washington

Albia head boys basketball coach Kevin Archer encourages his team during action on Dec. 30 at Evans Middle School Gymnasium in Ottumwa.

ALBIA — Kasen Bailey scored 33 points to lead fifth-ranked (3A) Washington to a 79-58 non-conference victory at Albia on Tuesday night.

"We wanted to keep Bailey out of the paint," assessed Albia head coach Kevin Archer. "He was hitting on 23 and 24-footers, and that's tough to defend."

Bailey would connect of all seven 3-point attempts during the first half. The Demons scored 30 points in the second quarter, opening up a 49-23 halftime margin.

"We like to pressure people, and we had our rotations down, they had trouble passing out of our traps," noted Washington head coach Collin Stark.

Washington (7-1) would maintain their lead during the second half of play.

"Although we had a 26-point lead at half, it's tough to keep the same level of energy," noted Stark.

Albia's leading scorer on the season, Drew Chance, again led the Blue Demons in scoring hitting on 21 points on the night. Blue Demon teammate Garin Grinstead was also in double figures with 12 points while senior Chris Kilfoyle added nine points for Albia in the loss.

"After these games, you really know what your weaknesses are, and what you need to address," noted Archer.

In addition to 33 for Bailey, Washington junior Ethan Patterson also chipped in with 20 points. Both teams face conference tests on Friday night as Albia (5-4) travels to Knoxville looking to continue pursing a third straight South Central Conference title opening 2022 with a 4-1 conference record, good for second place alone in the current standings one game behind Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont.

"Knoxville is young, but they can shoot the 3's," commented Archer.

Knoxville showed that explosive nature on Tuesday at Centerville, scoring 36 points in the fourth quarter to pull away for an 86-69 win over the Big Reds at Lakeview Gymnasium. Gabe Clark led the Panthers with 20 points as four different Knoxville players scored in double figures.

Washington, meanwhile, continues their pursuit of a Southeast Conference title on Friday at Fairfield. The Trojans (2-5) followed a conference win over Keokuk heading into the holiday break by returning from the break with a 52-28 non-conference win at Centerville on Monday.

"We expect a battle, as we only beat them (Fairfield) by five points at our place," noted Stark, "Max Wheaton has a presence in the paint."

The fifth-ranked (3A) Demons and Trojans both turn around to play at Coe College in the Wells Fargo Shootout on Saturday in Cedar Rapids. Fairfield will face Solon at approximately 3 p.m. Washington will follow facing fourth-ranked (3A) Ballard at approximately 4:45 p.m.

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