SERGEANT BLUFF | Sergeant Bluff-Luton is rebuilding after finishing as Iowa Class 3A state boys basketball runner-up last season and the reconstruction is off to a good start.
The Warriors breezed past Woodbury Central 77-29 here Tuesday night for their second victory in as many nights to start the 2017-18 season. Things get a little tougher for the Warriors before the Christmas break, but Coach Adam Vander Schaaf likes what he’s seen so far.
“It’s been a good first couple of nights but obviously it’s super early yet so we’re still figuring some things out,” Vander Schaaf said. “But the first signs are encouraging, the guys are doing a good job of listening and playing hard and seem to be working well together so we’ll try to keep building on it.”
Conner Groves and Ty Boekelman were starters on a team that finished 17-10 and lost to Cedar Rapids Xavier 54-49 in the 3A state championship last season. Sam DeMoss saw action off the bench, but everyone else is new to the varsity program.
That includes Jeremiah Khat, a 6-4 senior who transferred from Siouxland Christian. Khat scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds for his first double-figure effort in an SB-L uniform.
“He’s done a great job ever since he joined us,” said Vander Schaaf, The Journal’s Basketball Coach of the Year. “He’s a multi-dimensional player, he can score inside and out, he’s pretty good with the ball and he’s been guarding well,”
Groves led the Warriors, who opened the season with a 59-48 win over Sioux Ciy West on Monday, with 16 points. Boekelman added 10 points while DeMoss had nine points and Daniel Wright eight points and seven rebounds.
Wright, a 6-6 sophomore, had a magnificent season as the Warriors’ starting football quarterback this fall.
“One of the best things about early in the season is that the guys seem to be learning how to function together, which is obviously important on any team,” Vander Schaaf said. “And the other thing is they’re just listening and working hard.
“Some of our guys got their first action ever tonight. A couple of guys had their first varsity bucket, so that’s kind of exciting.”
Sergeant Bluff-Luton ran off 19 unanswered points in the final 5:49 of the first quarter, capped by a putback by DeMoss with two seconds left that made it 22-2. The cushion grew to 42-14 by halftime and a continuous clock kicked in early in the third quarter.
Brandon Stender came off the bench to score seven points for Woodbury Central (0-2). SB-L made seven 3-pointers and shot 28 of 54 from the field.
The Warriors have games against Sioux City North, Bishiop Heelan, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln, Le Mars, Sioux City East and Hull Western Christian before Christmas.