The Altamont Indians used a strong second-half performance to overcome a double-digit deficit and help defeat the Movin’ Maroons of Dieterich Friday evening 65-51.
“I told them we had to execute better,” said Altamont head coach John Niebrugge. “We were kind of taking the first shot off the first pass. When we play as a team, we are really hard to guard. We were letting them do what they want rather than us dictating what they do.
“In the second half, we just started doing what we do and making them become basketball players, rather than running an offense.”
After suffering an injury to his wrist on his non-shooting hand, Altamont head coach John Niebrugge wondered just how many minutes senior Aidan Jahraus would be able to play tonight.
“Aidan is a good offensive player. He’s put in a lot of time in the gym in the summer working on his ball-handling,” Niebrugge said. “We didn’t know how many minutes he was going to get. It just goes to show he’s hard to take off the floor. It tells you the type of heart he has. He’s a gamer and is going to come to play.”
Jahraus had a big hand in helping wipe away what was once a 10-point deficit in the second quarter, scoring 14 of his 19 points in the second half, with 10 coming in the third quarter that saw his team regain the lead for good.
The performance was crucial, with the Indians without athletic swingman Denver Duckwitz, the team leader in charges.
Also stepping up was freshman Noah Klimpel, scoring 17 points while getting the start, including a pair of second-half threes.
Dieterich had everything going its way early, with Cole Niebrugge scoring 15 points in the first half and helped his team get up 24-14 in the second quarter.
“I can’t say for sure that what we were doing early to get the lead had anything to do with what we didn’t do late,” said Dieterich head coach Josh Krumwiede. “I thought early on we were taking the ball to the basket and Cole was taking over the game, not to mention his rebounding and guarding the other team’s best player.
“I think that was a huge lift for us in the first half. We were rebounding our misses and putting them back in. The unfortunate part was, in the second half we came out a little flat and put a lot of stress on the second half, which has been our issue this year.”
But the Indians started to chop away at the lead and were able to cut it to a four-point game when Klimpel hit a shot just before the buzzer to go into the half at 29-25.
The Indians quickly tied the game in the third after Noah Teasley drilled a 3-pointer to start the quarter, as well as an old-fashion 3-point play from Jahraus to tie the game at 31 and broke the tie with a 3-pointer his next time down to take a 34-31 lead.
Cory Gephart was able to tie the game at 37 coming off the bench and drilling his first 3-pointer, but the Indians responded with a jumper from Jahraus as well as a strong layup at the basket plus the foul from Klimpel to go up 45-41.
Dieterich’s Collin Hartke hit a pair of free throws to make it a two-point game with just over a minute remaining in the third, but a vicious stepback jumper from Jahraus over the outstretched arm of two Dieterich defenders sent the Indians to the fourth up four after coming into the quarter trailing by as many.
In the fourth, the Indians were able to deny the ball, forcing the Maroons to start their sets far above the 3-point line.
“We deny every pass, but we just started doing it,” Niebrugge said. “They like to run a lot of sets. Coach Krumwiede does a really good job at running some really good stuff. We tried to take them out of it and make them play as far from the basket as possible.”
Derek Kuhl, who battled foul trouble much of the evening, hit a 3-pointer for cut the Dieterich deficit to seven with 3:48 to play, but proved to be as close as they would get, with the Indians running the offense and the clock to win 65-41.
“It did seem like we got a little tired there when the game was on the line,” Krumwiede said. “The game was in the balance of a couple possessions here and there. We gave Altamont on multiple possessions three different shots.
“When a team has figured you out and scores 22 on you in the third quarter and 18 in the fourth for 40 in the second half, maybe an adjustment needed to be made from my point of view. If we get the opportunity to play them again, which we hope to, those adjustments can be made.”
Jahraus led the Indians with 19 points while Klimpel added 17. Teasley scored nine, Jared Kollman eight, Kaden Eirhart seven, Jared Ruffner three and Derick Budde two.
For the Movin’ Maroons, Cole Niebrugge led all scorers with 24 points while Hartke added 12. Bryce Budde scored six in his second game back from a broken wrist that sidelined him seven weeks. Pete Britton, Gephart and Kuhl each added three.