Defending conference champs open War Eagle play with victory

Friday, December 9, 2022

REMSEN — Defending War Eagle Conference boys basketball champion Remsen St. Mary’s was coming off last Friday’s 66-47 win over Akron-Westfield. South O’Brien edged Sheldon 51-50 in a non-conference tilt on the same night. Still, the Wolverines, like the Hawks, are well-known for their defense.

Remsen St. Mary’s went on a 20-6 run during a crucial six-minute stretch during the third and fourth quarters on the way to a 67-41 victory. The Hawks scored on nine of 10 possessions while stretching a 34-26 lead, getting offense from Collin Homan (6 points), Jaxon Bunkers (4), Sam Schmillen (4), Alex Schroeder (3) and Hunter Pick (3) against the Wolverines’ challenging 2-3 zone.

“I can’t even replicate that defense as much as I want to try to,” said Remsen St. Mary’s co-head coach Justin Ruden. “They run it a specific way and do such a great job with it. I was happy with our boys and our ability to get their shots with it. Defensively, South O’Brien was going to be scrappy and all over the boards. We had to challenge our boys to meet that challenge.”

Collin Homan Ended with double-double

Homan, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, paced the winners with 16 points and 12 rebounds. It was the second double-double of the young season for the nephew of former Remsen St. Mary’s standout Jared Homan, who also played at Iowa State before playing overseas.

“They had a good 2-3 zone and I knew they’d double me down low,” said Homan, one of three new starters along with Schroeder and Pick. “That opens up all my teammates on the perimeter and it creates shots for me. We can trust all of those guys.”

Schroeder made three 3-pointers while scoring 13 points for Remsen St. Mary’s (2-0, 1-0 WEC). Bunkers finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Pick added 11 points, six boards and four assists. Schroeder’s 3-pointer, set up by Ryan Willman’s offensive board, gave the Hawks a 37-26 lead.

South O’Brien’s Sawyer Honkomp responded with a three, but consecutive inside baskets from Bunkers and Homan extended the advantage to 41-29. Schmillen (8 points), a 6-6 sophomore, and Homan each recorded two consecutive baskets in the four possessions that finished the third quarter. Meanwhile, Pick’s second three of the game was good for a 54-32 advantage, 47 seconds into the final frame.

En route to the Hawks’ seventh consecutive win in the series, South O’Brien was held scoreless in the final 4:45 of the third quarter. The Wolverines, who received 13 points from Boston Riedemann, were also held without a field goal in the game’s final five minutes.

“We play a switching man to man,” said Ruden. “You have to use your brain with it because you have to recognize players, then as you switch on to different guys, you have to take away their tendencies. We have been good at it over the years, but with new guys coming in, it has been an emphasis the last two practices to get better. Overall, it was progress.”

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: