Le Mars boys basketball falls to No. 3 MOC-FV

Friday, January 13, 2023
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Brayden Dreckman shoots a 3-pointer over MOC-Floyd Valley’s Ayden Klein in Monday’s game. Dreckman was the leading scorer for the Bulldogs with 11 points. Klein finished with 30 points to lead the Dutchmen.

LE MARS — The Le Mars Community boys basketball team pulled to within six of Class 3A No. 3 ranked MOC-Floyd Valley with just over three and a half minutes to go in their non-conference game on Tuesday, but that was as close as they could get as the Dutchmen were able to get back to the double digit cushion they held for most of the game by the end of the contest. The Dutchmen won by a final score of 69-57.

Le Mars Head Coach Dave Irwin said his team missed some opportunities late in the game which could have helped in their potential upset bid.

“The turnover bug plagued us a little bit at the end, but it was more about just stepping to the line and making some free throws,” Irwin said as his team went 11-of-21 from the charity stripe in the game and missed six of those attempts in the fourth quarter. “We put ourselves in a position to have a nice comeback and had them rattled. They really didn’t want the basketball. It kind of reminded me of the end of the first half against Dakota Valley where we got in their head a little bit and they were giving it right back to us, but we’d give it right back to them either through a turnover or a missed free throw.”

Drew Galles opened the game with a bucket and after Ayden Klein knocked down a 3-pointer, the Bulldogs pulled back in front with baskets from Andrew Fifita and Brayden Dreckman. That 6-3 lead was the best of the game for the Bulldogs as MOC-Floyd Valley rattled off the next 15 points to take control. The run included a pair of consecutive 3-pointers for Blake Aalbers, who finished with 16 points. Klein capped off the run with another 3-pointer as a layup from Nolan Parmelee, part of his six points, ended a scoring drought of over three minutes for the Bulldogs.

MOC-Floyd Valley used good perimeter shooting to build up their lead. They finished 11-of-16 from beyond the arc with eight of those makes coming in the first half. Klein had three in the first half and added two more in the second half as he finished with 30 points.

“He did a really, really nice job of exploding, whether it was into the lane or just being quick with his shot,” Irwin said of Klein, who in last season’s meeting had his season scoring high of 21 points. “I don’t think it was anything we did wrong. I think he’s a good player.”

Klein is the third player for the Dutchmen to have reached 30 points in a game this season, joining Luke Korver, who had 32 against Central Lyon, and Jesse Van Kalsbeek, who had 31 against West Lyon. Van Kalsbeek was held to seven points against the Bulldogs while Korver finished with 16.

While the Bulldogs gave up their most points in a game this season, it wasn’t necessarily a bad defensive performance against the Dutchmen, who were held to just two points above their season low. MOC-Floyd Valley had entered the game averaging 80 points per contest and had just come off of their best scoring game of the season, a 101-48 win over Okoboji.

“They scored 69 and we play good defense,” Irwin said. “We let some guys get away from us in the first half, just not identifying shooters, but we’ve done a lot of good things.”

The Bulldogs clamped down in the second half after giving up 44 first half points. More defensive stops helped the team claw to single digits in the fourth quarter. Helping the team were a pair of 3-pointers from Brayden Dreckman and Teagen Kasel who finished first and third on the team in scoring with 11 and seven points, respectively. Galles, who finished between those two with nine points, got a putback and Kasel added a layup to make the score 62-56, the closest the Bulldogs would get.

“I thought we played with a little extra step there towards the end and got some confidence going,” Irwin said. “Then you step to the free-throw line and you miss some and it’s all gone. It’s so deflating, an open-court turnover or a missed free throw when you have things rolling, it just goes the other way in a hurry.”

Klein got a pair of steals and took them for easy layups and Aalbers later did the same as MOC-Floyd Valley avoided a late game meltdown to improve to 8-1 on the season and get their first win in the series since the 2015-16 season. Le Mars had won the previous three contests in the series.

Le Mars fell to 2-7 as they dropped their fourth game in a row. The schedule doesn’t get any easier with a trip to undefeated and Class 4A No. 7 ranked Sioux City East up next for the team on Friday.

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