An ominous start turned into a second half surge as the Waukee High School boys’ basketball team advanced past the semi-final round of postseason play with a 68-53 win over Ankeny Centennial Friday night.
In front of the home town crowd, the Warriors overcame a 30-27 first half deficit to outscore the Jaguars 41-23 in the second half for the round one win. It was a tale of two halves that looked almost completely opposite from each other, starting with the rebounding performances as head coach Justin Ohl talked about after the game.
“In the first half we weren’t really good,” said Ohl. “They out played us off the boards which gave them a lot of second chance opportunities. In the second half we did a good job of limiting those second chance points and our stronger presence off the boards really helped in the win.”
In total, the Warriors had three players in double figures beginning with senior Dylan Jones who posted 16 points on the night. The senior has been tried and true with his shooting all season long with a mark well over 70 percent shooting from field goal range. Friday night, he kept that up by going five-of-eight from field goal range and six-of-eight from the free throw line. Jones has been the rebounding leader all season long and was there was no shortage Friday night where he tied with Payton Sandfort with ten total rebounds on the night. A concern coming into the game was the height of Centennial and while giving up nine offensive rebounds in the first half was rough, Jones talked about the re-surging second half and how the Warriors corrected the height challenge.
“It all begins with putting ourselves in the right positions to grab the rebound,” began Jones. “In the first half we didn’t do that well enough and that led to them leading at half. In the second half we did a much better job about boxing out properly once the ball was up, always putting ourselves in position.”
Fellow senior Andrew Curran was huge in solidifying the win down the stretch and he did so from the free throw line connecting on 12 of the team’s 22 made free throws on the night, over half of which came in the fourth quarter alone. Currant also connected on one field goal and one three point basket. Sophomore standout Tucker DeVries was the third Warrior to produce double digit scoring on the night. DeVries collected 13 points on five-of-eight two point field goals and three-of-six from beyond the three point arc.
As a team the Warriors shot a solid 50 percent from field goal range and connected on 8-of-20 from beyond the three point arc. Something that really helped solidify the win late were the free throws made which amounted to 22-of-25 total on the night.
The win provides the Warriors with their 19th overall win and the chance to move on in the postseason. Waukee will take on the next round of postseason action on Tuesday, Feb. 26 against either Johnston or Des Moines Hoover.