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Eagles soar past Mustangs in substate final

Murray junior Sam Rockhold draws contact from Ankeny Christian's 6-7 post player Ben Taylor after a pump fake during the first quarter of Murray's 50-37 loss to the Eagles in the substate final Saturday in Urbandale.
Murray junior Sam Rockhold draws contact from Ankeny Christian's 6-7 post player Ben Taylor after a pump fake during the first quarter of Murray's 50-37 loss to the Eagles in the substate final Saturday in Urbandale.

URBANDALE — Tempo was key in Murray’s 70-61 district final win over Mount Ayr Friday in Truro, and it also played a key role in the team’s 50-37 loss to Ankeny Christian Academy in the substate final Saturday in Urbandale.

“It wasn’t in our favor,” Murray head coach Darin Wookey said following Saturday’s season-ending loss. “We talked about pressing, but ... as good of guards as those guys are, I don’t know if we could have.”

Wookey was referring to Ankeny Christian junior JJ Waddle and sophomore Damon Stubbs, who thrust the dagger into Murray’s heart with 18 and 17 points, respectively, combining to score the final 21 points of the game for the Eagles.

Murray trailed 12-7 after the first quarter, tied the score up at 20-20 at halftime and trailed 31-28 after three quarters.

The Eagles played at a slow tempo, working to get the highest percentage shot they could within a halfcourt set, something the team started doing in postseason play.

“Once we’ve been playing these more physical and bigger schools, we’ve had to be more patient on offense and make sure we had high percentage shots, so we’ve been doing that throughout districts,” ACA head coach Paul Selindh said. “I’ve seen (Murray) play, and they just like going up and down the court. They obviously want to play fast-paced.”

A Waddle 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter put Ankeny Christian up 36-30, but Cody Scroggie answered with a deep 3-pointer of his own to trim the lead to three points.

Scroggie led the team with 14 points.

But, the Eagles responded with the next eight points, taking an 11-point lead at 44-33 with just under 2:00 left.

“Games like that, it’s one play or two that makes the difference in the ballgame,” Wookey said. “Cody hit one to get it back to three, and we thought we were probably pretty good. But, they did a good job of pulling the ball out and slowing it down in that fourth quarter and really taking us out of our game. We had to get a steal or two, and it seemed like when we did tonight, we just couldn’t do anything with it anyway.”

Late in the third quarter senior Eddie Otto knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner to put Murray up 28-27. Otto had two chances shortly after that to hit a 3-pointer, but both just missed the mark.

“Eddie had a nice look in the corner after he had already made one, and I thought it was down as soon as he let it go,” Wookey said. “He makes that, the ballgame may be a little different.”

Ankeny Christian (24-1) did an effective job of taking Murray senior Austin Halls out of the ballgame, holding him to just seven points while forcing him to committ six turnovers. Halls finished with three assists and three steals.

“Their defensive scheme on Tom was probably one of the best defensive schemes we’ve seen in four years on him,” Wookey said.

Daniel Strong drew the assignment of tracking Halls, with Waddle shadowing him. The two Eagle defenders kept Halls from getting a good look at a 3-pointer, and prevented him from penetrating the lane.

“We noticed on film, their post usually get feeds from him,” Selindh said. “If we could prevent him from even getting into the lane, which he really likes doing and is really good at, and he has a really good crossover, but with the two guys he wasn’t able to get into the lane.”

The loss ended Murray’s season at 23-2, tying a school record for most wins in a season.

It also marked the end the careers for a solid group of seniors that won four Bluegrass Conference championships, played in four district finals and one substate final.

Seniors on the team were Halls, Scroggie, Otto, Matt Johnston, Corbin Simmons, Devin Shields and Raymond Barlage.

ANKENY CHRISTIAN (50) — JJ Waddle 3 11-12 18, Damon Stubbs 5 5-7 17, Ben Taylor 4 1-2 9, Chayton Tonemah 2 0-0 4, Daniel Strong 1 0-0 2. Totals — 15 17-21 50. 3-point goals — 3 (Stubbs 2, Waddle 1). Team fouls — 15. Fouled out — None.

MURRAY (37) — Cody Scroggie 4 4-5 14, Andrew Rider 1 4-4 7, Austin Halls 2 3-5 7, Pat Kilmer 2 0-0 4, Eddie Otto 1 0-0 3, Sam Rockhold 1 0-0 2. Totals — 11 11-14 37. 3-point goals — 4 (Scroggie 2, Rider 1, Otto 1). FG shooting — 11-41 (26.8 percent). Rebounds — 19 (Scroggie 4, Kilmer 4, Rockhold 3, Halls 3, Rider 3).  Assists — 3 (Halls 3). Steals — 7 (Halls 3). Blocked shots — 5 (Rockhold 3, Rider 2). Turnovers —
13. Team fouls — 20. Fouled out  — Halls.

ACA — 12 20 31 50

Murray — 7 20 28 37


TRURO — Tempo swung Friday’s district final game against Mount Ayr in Murray’s favor, as the fast pace eventually wore the Raiders down in a 70-61 Murray victory.

“The hardest thing was we knew possessions was going to be a key for us, and we knew we had to keep them down,” Mount Ayr head coach Bret Ruggles said. “Unfortunately, the way you play Murray, they really push the ball and it makes the possessions really high. The more possessions got up, the more tired we looked.”

After a back-and-forth first half, Mount Ayr scored the first six points of the second half to take a 31-26 lead over Murray, thanks to buckets from seniors Dylan Doman, Braydee Poore and Jake Still.

But, Murray scored the next eight points and never looked back.

Halls took over in the second half, scoring 18 of his game-high 31 points, shooting 10-of-15 from the free throw line in the second half.

“We didn’t want them to slow it down,” Wookey said. “We knew if we could get them up and down the floor, we’d win. That’s been our game all year. We did that tonight. I thought we had a complete effort from everybody on the rebounding end and defensively.”

Halls grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and dished out nine assists in the win, while Sam Rockhold grabbed 10 boards to go with his seven points. Scroggie pitched in 14 points and Andrew Rider scored 10.

Mount Ayr was led by Still’s 27 points and Poore with 16 points. Still recorded 10 rebounds in a double-double effort.

The loss ended Mount Ayr’s season with a mark of 16-8.

MOUNT AYR (61) — Jake Still 12 3-7 27, Braydee Poore 7 0-0 16, Dylan Doman 3 0-0 7, John Triggs 2 0-1 4, Austin Quick 1 0-1 3, Jack Jones 1 0-0 2, Jacob Sobotka 1 0-2 2. Totals — 27 3-11 61. 3-point goals — 4 (Poore 2, Quick 1, Doman 1). FG shooting — 27-51 (52.9 percent). Rebounds — 25 (Still 10, Poore 5, Sobotka 4, Triggs 4).  Assists — 12 (Still 4, Triggs 3, Poore 2, Doman 2). Steals — 6 (Doman 4). Team fouls — 22. Fouled out — Poore, Quick.

MURRAY (70) — Austin Halls 8 13-16 31, Cody Scroggie 5 1-2 14, Andrew Rider 3 3-3 10, Sam Rockhold 2 3-4 7, Matt Johnston 3 0-0 6, Pat Kilmer 1 0-0 2. Totals — 22 20-25 70. 3-point goals — 6 (Scroggie 3, Halls 2, Rider 1). FG shooting — 22-46 (47.8 percent). Rebounds — 37 (Halls 12, Rockhold 10, Johnston 4, Scroggie 4, Rider 3, Kilmer 3).  Assists — 13 (Halls 9, Scroggie 3). Steals — 7 (Halls 2, Scroggie 2). Team fouls — 14. Fouled out  — None.

Mount Ayr — 13 25 37 61

Murray — 14 26 46 70

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