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Mooseheart junior Mangisto Deng (No. 24) defends against Leland-Earlville's Tom Johnson. Deng scored 7 points for the Ramblers while Johnson scored 18 points for the Panthers.
Makur Puou prepared to go to the basket and score 2 of his game-high 19 points in Mooseheart's 60-45 victory over Leland-Earlville.
Mooseheart's Wale Sanni shoots over Leland-Earlville's Nolan Baumbach. Sanni scored 6 points, all in the fourth quarter, in the Ramblers' victory.
MOOSEHEART, IL Nov. 27 – There is some explosiveness to Mooseheart's boys basketball offense, and the Ramblers showed that trait in spurts during Tuesday's 60-45 victory over Leland-Earlville.
But there are times when that offense still sputters, and that was also in evidence in this initial home game of the season for the Ramblers, who improved to 2-2. What never failed Mooseheart, however, was its defense, which was stifling at best and dominant throughout.
“I thought we played good defense again,” Mooseheart coach Ron Ahrens said. “I hope I'll say that after every game. We're hustling on defense but we're struggling offensively again.”
The Ramblers scored the first six points of the game and were never tied. Scoring spurts in the contest lengthened the lead to 17 points at one point of the second quarter, and beyond 20 points midway through the third quarter.
Leading the way offensively was Makur Puou, who recovered after only scoring one basket in the first quarter and led all scorers with 19 points. He was the only Ramblers player to reach double-digits, though nine Mooseheart players scored in the contest.
Through the game, Ahrens employed large-scale substitutions. The starters typically played half of each quarter, a move not necessarily designed to give the starters rest or to keep the game from getting out of control.
“I probably would have sat the (starters) in the fourth quarter, but I wanted to see if they could come in and run one of our offensive plays – and they did,” Ahrens said. “They're not always running our offenses right now, and we've got to improve on that.”
The Ramblers also missed a number of close shots. Fortunately, with none of Leland-Earlville's players standing taller than 6-0, Mooseheart controlled a number of those misses and scored the rebounds. The missed shots bothered Ahrens, however.
“We missed a lot of easy chances again,” Ahrens said. “We've got to continue to work on making those shots, especially the big guys like (Puou) and Akeem (Nyang.) If they can start making two-foot shots, they're going to be pretty decent players.”
Leland-Earlville made one concerted run at the Ramblers in the fourth quarter, keyed by a trio of three-pointers by Tom Johnson, who scored 18 points. Andrew Walsh added another three-pointer and the lead dipped to nine points before the Ramblers rallied.
“I was getting a little nervous,” Ahrens said. “They were shooting the ball pretty well from three. If they have to shoot from three, I'd rather they'd be doing that than shooting lay-ups.”
Key in the Ramblers' recovery was a six-point fourth quarter from Wale Sanni, one of the team's non-starters who saw considerable court time.
“Our second five's a pretty decent team,” Ahrens said. “They played tough. In the fourth quarter, I sat the starters because I wanted them to watch the second team run our offense. Our second team ran our offense better than our first team.”
Walsh 5 0-0 13, Clausen 1 0-0 2, B. Saylor 0 0-0 0, Johnson 6 1-2 18, Pfeff 2 0-4 4, Baumbach 1 0-0 2, Bomstad 2 1-2 6, Frieders 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0, Torres 0 0-0 0, Saylor, J. 0 0-0 0, Brunswick 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 2-8 45.
Okito 2 0-1 4, Hart 3 2-5 6, Kurowski 1 0-0 2, Abdulahi 3 0-0 6, Ole-Sabay 1 0-0 2, Deng 3 2-2 7, Gbadego 0 0-0 0, Puou 9 1-1 19, Sanni 3 0-0 6, Nyang 2 0-0 4.
Leland-Earlville 12 6 11 16 - 45
Mooseheart 7 14 16 13 - 60
Leland-Earlville: Walsh 3, Johnson 5, Bomstad 1.
Mooseheart: Deng 1. Fouled out: None.