Prep Basketball

Montezuma shoots its way past Algona Garrigan and into boys' state basketball semifinals

Braves score 47 points in first half en route to 78-65 victory

DES MOINES — Cole Watts made his way down court late in the second quarter, nodding his head up and down, smiling and clapping his hands.

Just before the second half began, Nolan Havran looked at teammate Eddie Burgess as the two stood in the lane and started singing along to Van Halen’s “Pretty Woman” as it blared over the PA system at Wells Fargo Arena.

This was a loose group of Montezuma Braves. Then, again, when you’re playing and shooting as well as they were, you tend not to be uptight.

It was quite a performance for fifth-ranked Montezuma, which literally shot Algona Garrigan out of the state tournament via a 78-65 Class 1A quarterfinal win.

“At first, it was a little intimidating,” said super sophomore point guard Trey Shearer. “We’ve never played in a venue quite this large, so it was a little different, a little bright. But I think warmups helped, getting used to the floor and the openness of the gym. We got things going a little bit after that.”

A little bit? Don’t be so modest, Trey.

Montezuma (22-1) made 60.7 percent of its shots in the first half, including a 9-for-12 performance from 3-point range. The Braves were 6 of 7 from beyond the arc in a 28-point second quarter that lifted them to an 18-point halftime lead.

“We just got on a roll,” Watts shrugged. “We’re great shooters. We just started hitting shots, and it feels good to be on this big stage and performing really well.”

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Garrigan (19-8) outsized Montezuma by a major margin, with 6-foot-9 sophomore Angelo Winkel and 6-6 T.J. Schnurr, among others. But the Braves were much quicker, using superior ball movement and Shearer’s exquisite handles and creativity to their fullest extent.

Shearer finished with 25 points (including 5-for-5 shooting from range) and six assists. Forward Hunter Ray added 15 points and Watts 13 off the bench.

“Our size was an advantage for us, but credit to them. They shots the lights out,” said Garrigan Coach Mark Meister. “For them to shoot that way, we haven’t had that happen to us this year.”

“That’s kind of how our offense has evolved a little bit. Attacking off the ball screens and kicking it to shooters,” said Montezuma Coach Derrick Dengler. “Just putting the ball into the hands of guys who can make some plays and do those kinds of things ... I told the boys ‘Hey, we’d better make some shots as we go into this game.’ Luckily, they listened to me. They’re pretty good listeners.”

Montezuma draws top-ranked and two-time defending 1A champ Grand View Christian (24-1) in Wednesday’s 2 p.m. semifinals. A historically strong basketball community, this is the school’s first trip to state since it won it all in 1990.

Yes, these kids know all about that team.

“If you want the truth, the history lesson was a long time ago,” Shearer said. “We’ve heard it for a long time. Coming back here this year was important to us because it hasn’t happened since 1990. It’s a big deal.”

AT WELLS FARGO ARENA

ALGONA GARRIGAN (65): Cade Winkel 3-4 0-0 7, T.J. Schnurr 6-14 5-6 19, Angel Winkel 9-17 0-2 18, Brad Capesius 1-2 1-2 3, John Joyce 4-10 0-0 10, Tristan Ferguson 2-3 0-0 4, Andrew Amdorfer 0-1 0-0 0, Cameron Baade 0-1 0-0 0, Kellen Murphy 0-0 0-0 0, Kyle Schaaf 1-1 0-1 2, John Capesius 0-0 0-0 0, Kyphus Goche 0-0 0-0 0, Marcus Plathe 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 27-54 6-11 65.

MONTEZUMA (78): Eddie Burgess 4-4 0-0 9, Hunter Ray 6-12 2-2 15, Nolan Havran 2-3 3-4 7, Brayden Arendt 2-4 1-2 7, Trey Shearer 8-14 4-5 25, Cole Watts 3-8 5-6 13, Nolan Reynolds 1-2 0-0 0, Brydon Henning 0-0 0-0 0, Daniel Bryan 0-0 0-0 0, Joey Kercheval 0-0 0-0 0, Keaton Minner 0-0 0-0 0, Brody Chidester 0-0 0-0 0, Adam Cheney 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-47 15-19 78.

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Halftime — Montezuma 47, Garrigan 29. 3-point goals — Garrigan 5-21 (C. Winkel 1-1, B. Capesius 0-1, Joyce 2-7, Schnurr 2-8, A. Winkel 0-2, Amdorfer 0-1, Baade 0-1, Schaaf 0-1), Montezuma 11-20 (Arendt 2-4, Ray 1-4, Shearer 5-5, Burgess 1-1, Watts 2-6). Rebounds — Garrigan 29 (A. Winkel 6), Montezuma 24 (Rayn 9). Total fouls — Garrigan 16, Montezuma 10. Fouled out — None. Assists — Garrigan 13 (Joyce 4), Montezuma 13 (Shearer 6). Turnovers — Garrigan 15, Montezuma 9.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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