SIOUX CENTER, Iowa | Something as simple as setting a screen makes all the difference for 3-point shooters.
Tyus Arends appreciates screens set by his teammates and makes sure he returns the favor. No wonder Class 2A 9th-ranked Sioux Center, a 15-4 team that has experienced three games with five double-figure scorers and seven with four in twin totals, is shooting 51.2 percent.
“Isaac (Vietor) and Cade (Bleeker) are two of the best screeners I play with,” said Arends, the Sioux City Journal’s Siouxland Athlete of the Week, a 6-foot senior guard who has learned this art and other tricks of the trade by his dad, who’s in his 20th year as Sioux Center’s head boys basketball coach.
“Tyler (Van Beek) and Kayden (Glade) help find me open shots. Our motion offense is based on a lot of screens. Everyone has to know how to be able to screen. I just try to pop out, I look for a shot and my go-to as of late has been helped by screens.”
Arends is a three-year starter who heads into Tuesday night’s Siouxland Conference game at West Lyon with 1,189 career points. He has a team-best 16.1 scoring average, but has been on fire from beyond the arc as of late, helping the Warriors win five of their last six games.
The Dakota Wesleyan recruit has averaged 19.5 points in that span, converting 24 of 46 3-point attempts. During two conference wins last week, the 18-year-old son of Todd and Julie Arends of Sioux Center hit five 3s each game, beginning last Tuesday when he ripped the cords for a season-high 27 points in an 84-63 win over No. 6 (Class 1A) George-Little Rock.
“His teammates have been doing a great job of freeing him up since the Christmas break,” said Coach Arends. “Trajan Walhof has set screens on the back side to create opportunities. Kayden Glade is a junior who has broken into our lineup and has set screens so well. Isaac Vietor, Cade Bleeker, Charlie Dykshorn, so many of our players have created opportunities in our motion offense to find shots.”
Tyus Arends feels screens are some of the little things that will make a difference for a program that has been defeated by Western Christian in each of the last three Class 2A substate championship games.
One thing he has noticed is the difference between a good shot and a great shot. A 41.8 percent 3-point shooter (51 of 122), Arends said the Warriors have made the extra pass to ensure the best scoring opportunities.
“There’s good shots everywhere on the floor,” said Tyus Arends. “We make that extra pass to get to the rim. We cut hard. We set screens. We’ve done the little things to find a great shot instead of a good one. The great shot is the right shot to the right guy in the right spot. Sometimes it’s to me on the wing for a 3, sometimes it’s Brendan (Zeutenhorst) in the post. You find the best matchup and go for it.”
Bleeker, a 6-3 junior, is shooting 53.9 percent and averages 15.8 points. He’s made at least 35 3-pointers along with 6-foot seniors Van Beek (10.6 ppg) and Vietor (9.2 ppg). Zeutenhorst (9.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg), a 57.1 percent shooting 6-6 senior, is back after missing six games with a shoulder injury.
Speaking of shoulders, it’s a body part Tyus has been reminded about from his dad, when taking the 3-point shot. The elder Arends has 352 career wins and four state tournament appearances, highlighted by the 2003 2A title and is aiming to get Sioux Center back to state for the first time since 2012.
“Shoulder over the toe,” Tyus said. “A lot of times when I shoot, I get too good of rhythm. When my weight goes to the rim, it goes backward. So my shoulder is over the toe instead of behind. It gets the ball there. When I’ve been in the gym, my dad has fixed little things like that.”
Todd Arends said the shoulder over the toe is something that his oldest son doesn’t always like to hear. But it’s helped, especially in the last three seasons, as he shot 41.3 percent from the arc while averaging 15.6 points as a sophomore and 45.3 as a junior while scoring at an 18.8 rate.
“Tyus has the ability to make shots anywhere on the floor,” said Coach Arends. “Range is not an issue. He has a three-level game. He has extended range with his jump shot. He has mid-range ability. He can finish or get to the free throw line with the basketball which is what we like to see, a player finish at the rim.
“He has teammates willing to share and distribute. The biggest thing Tyus has done is trust his teammates. They’ve given him confidence. When a player gets to play with confidence, he’s fearless. It’s taken him to a new level.”
Bri Jensen, Kingsley-Pierson.... The senior guard averaged 22 points and 9.5 rebounds in two Western Valley Conference Tournament games as the Panthers defended their tournament title.
Vicki Gatzemeyer, BRLD.... The senior guard scored 15 points in a 38-36 win over North Bend Central in the finals of the East Husker Conference Tournament and passed 1,000 career points.