Bulldogs struggle against ranked East with Pottebaum sidelined
SIOUX CITY — Will Pottebaum was a last-minute scratch from the lineup after injuring himself in pregame warmups and Le Mars Community struggled without their leading scorer and his 19.1 point per game average on the floor. The Bulldogs were doubled up by the Black Raiders by a score of 78-39.
“We didn’t know how to handle a little adversity and rather than meet a challenge head on, we went and hid,” Le Mars Head Coach Dave Irwin said. “I was extremely, extremely disappointed with our effort, our approach, with everything. We were a flat out bad team tonight. Evidently we depend way more on Will than what I thought.”
Pottebaum took a misstep off of the raised court at the Tyson Events Center prior to the game at the CNOS Foundation Basketball Classic on Friday. He spent the first quarter back in the locker room area and when he did return to the sidelines, he remained in his warmups the entire night.
East took advantage of Pottebaum's absence and never trailed in the game. The closest Le Mars would be was a 10-8 deficit midway through the first quarter, but a 9-0 run quickly put the Bulldogs in a hole they could never recover from.
A 7-0 run to start the second quarter and a 10-0 run for East out of halftime were part of a dominant performance from the Black Raiders as they shot 52 percent from the floor and made 7-of-13 shots from beyond the arc. Van Rees led the way with 20 points with eight coming from the free-throw line. Jaleque Dunson added 17 with four 3-pointers. Aiden Vanderloo initiated the running clock with an old fashioned 3-point play, part of his 10 points in the game, with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter.
Irwin said East showed how good of a team they are.
“You can have some off nights against some teams and still look competitive,” Irwin said. “East, that was a good lesson. They are an excellent team and we happened to have a bad game against an excellent team and a lot of it was they are a good team. They made us do a lot of things we didn’t want to do or weren’t able to do.”
Alex Irwin was a bright spot for the Bulldogs. Entering the game averaging less than four points per game and hitting just 5-of-29 shots from 3-point range, Irwin finished with a team-best 16 points and hit 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
“He had a nice game. He finally got some shots to fall and shots to fall early,” Coach Irwin said. “It’s amazing what happens once you see the ball go through the hoop once or twice and you get a little more confident. I feel bad that it was wasted. I wish we would have had it in a couple other games, but hopefully this can kickstart him in the right direction.”
JT Engebretson was the team’s other key player as he was aggressive at taking the ball to the basket, reaching the foul line nine times and converting seven shots. He ended with 13 points and had the team’s only two assists.
“He does a nice job. JT, he’s going to compete, he’s not going to quit,” Irwin said. “We’ve just got to have everybody on the same page.”
For the game, Le Mars shot just 24 percent. When factoring out Irwin and Engebretson, the rest of the team combined to shoot just 10 percent from the floor.
The Bulldogs fall to 6-3 on the season and have now lost back-to-back games. The team will have to try to turn things around quickly as the top two ranked teams in Class 2A, Western Christian and Sioux Center, are on the docket in the upcoming week.
“We have two big games coming up in Sioux Center and Western, so we’re going to have to flush this and get back to work,” Irwin said. “Whether Will can play or not, those two games are going to be there next Tuesday and next Friday, so we have to get tougher in the next three days.”
Le Mars 12 8 8 11 39
East 24 16 25 13 78
Le Mars: (Individual) Points- Irwin 16, Engebretson 13, Lancaster 5, Williams 2, Szczech 2, Rarrat-Kass 1; Rebounds- Eckstaine 4, Lancaster 3, Engebretson 3; Assists- Engebretson 2; Steals- Engebretson, Washburn; (Team) FG 11-46, 3ptFG 4-18, FT 13-17, OFF-DEF REB 4-20/24, AST 2, STL 2;
East: (Individual) Points- Van Rees 20, Jaleque Dunson 17, Aiden Vanderloo 10, Samuel Hildahl 10, Jack Peterson 7, Cole Taylor 4, Sayvion Armstrong 4, Javonte Keck 4, Jacob Maxey 2; (Team) FG 27-52, 3ptFG 7-13, FT 17-25, OFF-DEF REB 10-33/43, AST 7, BLK 4, STL 9