Record-breaking Trudo leads Van Meter past rising Madrid

Sean Cordy
Correspondent
Taylor Birks looks to move the ball against a pair of Madrid defenders on Friday, Feb. 5.

Van Meter (13-4) returned to its home court Friday ready for a brawl with a streaking Madrid (9-9) squad, and thanks to a career-performance, took down the Tigers 57-43.

Three's Company

"Casey Trudo for three" was one of the most common phrases heard from Van Meter's announcer. Whenever the Bulldogs needed to pull away, the junior stepped back to drive the game forward with a three-pointer. That was perfectly highlighted on back-to-back-to-back possessions to take a 50-39 lead after a tied game just minutes earlier. He finished with a 30 total points and a school-record eight three-pointers.

"We know what he's capable of doing and tonight he showed it again," Van Meter head coach Jed Alexander said. "Against that zone, we kind of thought he could have a good night."

Casey Trudo in action during a home contest against Madrid on Friday, Feb. 5.

After the game, Trudo wasn't even aware he had broken the school record. He said he noticed Madrid keeping an eye on him more in the first half, but eventually wore down and allowed his hot hand to melt the score.

"Shots weren't falling in the first half and then we really responded in the second half," Trudo said.

Full Throttle

Beyond Trudo shooting the lights out, Van Meter imposed its will on Madrid after two quarters of equal pushback from the Tigers, neither team being allowed to play their normal style.

Kadyn Severson goes up for a shot on Friday, Feb. 5 against Van Meter.

"Early on we did a really good job of slowing the pace down and taking care of the basketball," Madrid head coach Brian Surratt said. "What hurt us was, they tried to put pressure on us, tried to speed us a bit and we have to play our game, and as the game gets sped up, we don't make very good decisions."

That pace of play was evident by the first-half box score as the teams were tied 17-17 before Trudo broke the dam. In secondary roles, Taylor Birks picked up 10 points while Clark Fiala had seven. Madrid was led by Gabe Peterson's 17 points and 11 from Cayden Fuson.

"We were cold as ice for the most part," Alexander added. "Madrid did a good job of protecting the rim and made it tough for us, and we were getting perimeter shots so the game stayed close (in the first half)."

Madrid's Brady Leonard in action on Friday, Feb. 5 in Van Meter.

Be the best, beat the best

Despite the loss, Surratt said the first three quarters Friday on top of the team's five-game win streak are proof of the team's growth this season after entering with a new identity. They have two more regular-season games Saturday against Glidden-Ralston and Tuesday against Ogden to climb back to a winning record.

Van Meter also had a close game this week, narrowly losing to conference leader Des Moines Christian after leading in the fourth quarter, almost identical to how Friday's game slipped from Madrid. The Bulldogs remain home Saturday against Pella Christian.