116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — With his team up 20-some points with four minutes left Tuesday night, Anamosa boys’ basketball coach Kevin Barnes delivered a quick message to his star player Sam Wilt.
Despite having a night for the ages, Barnes told Wilt the game was in hand and he had one more possession to play, then someone else was entering for him.
“Make or miss, you’re coming out,” Barnes said.
So Wilt decided to go out with a flourish. He swiftly stole a North Cedar pass, drove down court, pulled up at the 3-point line and let it fly. Swish.
A school-record 47 points, giving him an even 1,000 for his varsity career. Timeout was called, and Wilt was substituted.
“I didn’t realize I had that many points until I looked up at the board,” Wilt said. “It was going so fast, I didn’t realize I was scoring at that rate, I guess. It was pretty crazy. I knew going into the game I needed 47 to get 1,000. I knew that. But I didn’t think it was going to be this game that I’d reach it.”
The 6-foot-3 senior made 19 of 24 attempts from the field, including 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. He made 4 of 6 free throws.
Add in 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocked shots, and you have a simply great overall performance. The point total is the best in the state so far this season.
“If I didn’t have the scoreboard up on the wall to look at, I would have never thought he had 47 points,” Barnes said. “It was just so smooth.”
Wilt is the only player Barnes has had in his two-decade-plus career at Anamosa who played on varsity for four years. Despite being strictly a post in middle school, Wilt was a point guard as a freshman.
He’s back to being mostly on the interior this season for an undersized Anamosa team that takes a 6-3 record into Friday night’s game against unbeaten Camanche. But the ability to score inside or outside has helped make Wilt the player he has become.
“That definitely helped me throughout my career to where I am now,” said Wilt, who averages 23.3 points and 10.9 rebounds this season and who Barnes believes owns the Anamosa career record for blocked shots. “Playing point guard has helped my ballhandling, helped me getting to the rim and even shooting 3-pointers.”
Wilt will play baseball next year for Kirkwood Community College as a corner infielder and/or pitcher.
“Greatest kid in the world,” Barnes said. “As a matter of fact, he’s too damned nice.”
Wilt and Anamosa almost didn’t make it to Tuesday’s game. En route to North Cedar on Highway 64 outside of town, the team bus came upon an automobile accident.
The bus driver, Barnes and assistant coach Kolin Schulte, a pre-med student, tended to a man whose Jeep Cherokee was hit head on by an oncoming car and ended up in a ditch on fire. He was able to get out of his vehicle.
The woman who was the driver of the car was ejected from her vehicle, laid prone and unconscious in the middle of the highway and later died. First responders quickly arrived on the scene, as did a medical helicopter from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Barnes said all of his players and three student managers remained on the bus the entire time. After an hour and a half, everyone was back en route to North Cedar.
“We walked into North Cedar’s gym early in the third quarter of the girls’ game,” Barnes said. “I was going back and forth from the bus to the scene because you are wondering how kids are handling this. They were terrific. I’ve got a senior-dominated group, and they did a great job. Asked some questions but understood the situation.”
Around the hoop
- Pretty much right next door to Wilt is Rhenden Wagaman, who has put on an incredible scoring flurry of his own. The Springville senior had back-to-back 41-point games for the Orioles in wins over Starmont (Tuesday night) and East Buchanan (Dec. 21). Those are school records. Tuesday night’s 41-point night pushed the 6-foot-3 guard over the 1,000-point mark for his career. Teammate Luke Menster surpassed 1,000 career points in an early December game. Springville is 9-1 going into its big Friday night encounter at home against North Linn.
- Thursday night’s game between Turkey Valley and Riceville was postponed and rescheduled to Feb. 7 because of the death of the father of a Turkey Valley player.
- Unbeaten teams left in the area are Mid-Prairie (8-0) and Monticello (9-0) in Class 2A and Iowa City West (7-0) in 4A.
- Coe College will host the 2022 Wells Fargo Advisors Shootout on Saturday. Seven games will be played, beginning at 10:30 a.m. (Central City and Columbus Community). Durant and Cascade will follow at noon, Alburnett and Dunkerton at 1:30 p.m, Solon and Fairfield at 3, Ballard and Washington (Iowa) at 4:30, Monticello and Iowa City Regina at 6 and Iowa City Liberty and Linn-Mar at 7:30. Any youth/feeder program player from any school will receive free admission if they wear their game jersey top.
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