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Rankin sets new DCG records as Mustangs take down Perry

Sean Cordy
Correspondent
DCG's Brayden Fuller goes up for a basket during the substate opening round against Perry on Monday, Feb. 22 in Grimes.

It was deja vu Monday in Dallas Center-Grimes (18-3) as the Mustangs clipped an 85-12 win over Perry (0-19), the second year in a row DCG has run away with a win over the Bluejays in the substate opening round.

Calling it a day

DCG needed just a couple minutes to put the game away as the Mustangs hung a 38-7 score on the first quarter scoreboard. That 31-point margin marks the team's best single quarter, almost double the 16-point lead against two-win Oskaloosa.

Considering Dallas Center won by 51 points in last year's matchup with Perry, there was every expectation to win again. But with such confidence, head coach Joel Rankin was still pleased to see the team's fundamentals in action.

"The goal is to just play really hard and just be sharp. I know that the guys, come tournament time, they get dialed in," Rankin said. "So we just want to continue to improve and get better and know that Thursday is going to be a really tough game against ADM."

Playing in a partial game, starters like Luke Rankin still posted gaudy numbers. While Rankin was fourth with 11 points behind Cole Glasgow (16), Alex Thomas (14) and Bo Huston (12), his nine assists and four steals were enough to become the school's new all-time leader in both categories.

Spreading the wealth

With such a commanding lead, the Mustangs were comfortable putting their bench on the floor to give reserve players one last chance on their home floor before the season takes a more serious tone. 

Tyler Baliff brings the ball up the floor during the substate opening round match-up against Perry on Monday, Feb. 22 in Grimes.

"We definitely get to see some players that haven't got a ton of time and that was really nice. It's always nice to reward them for all their hard work during the season because they come and practice and make us better," coach Rankin said, adding it's particularly fun to see the student section's reaction for fan-favorites like Traeten Simmons come into the game.

While a similar situation could play out against ADM, players like Simmons know that there isn't a guarantee.

"I love it. It's always fun running up and down the court, passing to my teammates and getting buckets myself," Simmons said, "I just love basketball. It's my favorite sport and whenever I get out there, it's great."

Even with the team's practice squad in, DCG held Perry scoreless in the second half.

Clinging to potential

Though a Perry victory against a heavy favorite would be beyond historic, Bluejays head coach David Morris couldn't help but wonder how the game may have seen improvements had his team avoided copious setbacks. Perry had the misfortune of having not one but two COVID-19 quarantines, and in a year under a new head coach, the young team needed as many reps as possible.

"Things were going the right way and then we just folded again which really hurts," Morris said. "There were other teams growing and learning. We got no games coming out of the break and only three guys practicing. That's all we had [which does nothing] for our team camaraderie."

In spite of the final score and shutout second half, Morris particularly pointed out the performance of freshman guard Drake Levan as a highlight. 

Perry's Drake Levan goes around DCG's Charlie Adams on Monday, Feb. 22 during the substate opening round.