When we walked off the floor on Friday night at Ruskin, we felt pretty good about what we were able to accomplish offensively and thought we might be able to carry some of that momentum into this week. After taking the weekend off to rest, mother nature had other plans and the weather prevented us from playing or practicing at all on Monday and Tuesday. After a full day of school today, that’s 100+ hours without our guys even touching a basketball. That’ll make any coach nervous. Our players, however, came out focused, rested, happy to be back together and ready to put on a show and that they did, beating Excelsior 91-31.
As a program, we do our best to learn what works for other teams and try and implement what we can into our own system. After seeing Ruskin’s speed in transition, we decided that we would try and take a page out of their playbook and use our speed to go downhill as fast as we could. The coaching staff instructed our rebounders/inbounders to outlet to a guard as soon as possible and we wanted our attackers to go downhill at sprint speed, not running alongside defenders which we will occasionally do but get out ahead and go make a play and luckily we were successful with that this evening. In addition to playing with pace, we were incredible all night with making the extra pass. It was such an unselfish outing from our kids, resulting in a season best 20 assists and a tie for season best, 1.31 points per possession.
To anyone that has watched a Smithville game these two years, three point shooting has become an emphasis for us. Thousands and thousands of attempts each week at practice. I think about all of the shots that we’ve put up. All of the times we’ve talked about taking the right shots. Guys like Tucker Sharpe who paved the way for the great shooters in our program now and showed them how to prepare before the ball gets to you, down and ready to shoot. I think about the donors/sponsors for our program who helped us buy a Dr. Dish last year. We’ve talked *many* times about breaking the team record for three pointers in a game. It used to be 11. We broke that last year and bumped it to 12. We tied it earlier this year vs. St. Pius. Tonight? Tonight, these young men put this team in the record books. 13. It took many more people, like the people I’ve mentioned above, to get to this point but it’s pretty awesome to see the plan come together. The starters hit 7 of them, the bench came in and hit 6 of them. They did it together. Great stuff.
There are plenty of stats to go around tonight, Ryker Edwards led the way for us with 24 points in just 18 minutes. Our next 3 leading scorers? All guys who came off the bench for us. Andrew Miller came in and played phenomenally, scoring 12 points and grabbing 7 rebounds in just 9 minutes of play. Caleb Donnell had 10 points. Nick Dakon came in and scored 9 points, knocking down a couple of deep 3’s. Brad Schram had 8 points, Keltin Nitsche and Marcus Garza each chipped in 7. Rhett Foster had 6, Cody Simoncic had 4, Derek Boyd and Spencer Engle rounded out the scoring with 2 each.
Hats off to both groups but I thought our starters were awesome tonight. Every single starter’s +/- was +34 or higher. That’s an absurdly high number for 5 guys to reach. They came out so focused and ready to play. They were so unselfish all night. And while none of them played for the last quarter and a half, they were excellent on the bench, cheering on their teammates until the very end. A+ effort from them.
We’re at the point of the season where individuals start to reach notable milestones and there’s a couple that deserve to be noted tonight…
Ryker Edwards crossed the 400 points in a season threshold today. Treston Horton (Class of ’17) was the last Warriors player to cross 300 points in a season in his senior season. The last Warriors to cross the 400 point mark were Campbell Lakatos (Class of ’16; 400) and Riley Gesling (Class of ’16; 406) during their senior seasons. For Ryker to accomplish this feat as a sophomore is remarkable. The last Warrior to reach 500 points in a single season was Brock Mick (Class of 2014) who had 522 during his senior campaign. As always, he’d be the very first to give the credit to his teammates, guys like Keltin Nitsche.
Keltin is having a fantastic junior season in our attacker position and continues to be the catalyst for what we do. Kelt now sits at 77 assists for the season. The last Warrior to reach 75+ assists in a season was Campbell Lakatos (’16) who had 101 in his senior campaign.
Cody Simoncic and Brad Schram have both now taken 10 charges on the season, eyeing Brad’s single season school record of 17 which he set last year. Cody got one tonight so he’s now up 11-10.
Brad Schram crossed the 50 three pointers made in a season mark last game and with two more this evening, he now sits at 52 for the season. Tucker Sharpe (Class of 2020) who finished his career with the third most in school history, finished the season with 58 last year.
Ryker Edwards (134), Rhett Foster (118), Keltin Nitsche (100) and Cody Simoncic (102) each now have 100+ rebounds on the season. Four. FOUR PLAYERS. I’ve never heard of that. Last year, for example, we did not have one player reach the 100 rebound mark last season. We’ve had a lot of guys reach 100 rebounds in a season. Jake Fisher (’19), Ethan Kershaw (’19), Riley Gesling (’16), Jackson Krull (Class of 2015) We’ve had 1 season where multiple guys have had 100+ rebounds in a season in my time here (2015-2016). We’ve had NO season where three guys have had 100+ rebounds. To have 4 guys accomplish this in one season is for me at least unheard of.
JV also had a very dominant effort on the road this evening, playing a complete team game, sharing and shooting the ball very well and setting the table well for the Varsity group. Tristan Henshaw caught fire in the 4th quarter knocking down 3 triples in the 4th quarter alone; happy for this crew!
Now we get to turn our attention back to Kearney who we will play in a big conference/district matchup at home on Friday night! GO WARRIORS!