Boys basketball: Rockets ride balance, talent past East
Isaiah Walden loves the basketball world he's living in. He's a point guard at Rochester John Marshall who's surrounded by athletic wings and shooters. Two of them are 6-foot-7 or better, brothers Michael and Matthew Hurt. Another is a 6-3 guy who...
Isaiah Walden loves the basketball world he's living in.
He's a point guard at Rochester John Marshall who's surrounded by athletic wings and shooters. Two of them are 6-foot-7 or better, brothers Michael and Matthew Hurt. Another is a 6-3 guy who jumps out of the gym, Ray Adams.
Nice deal for Walden, who gets to run that show.
"It's nice to have two Division I (future college) guys right next to you," said Walden, referring to 6-7 Michael Hurt who has committed to the University of Minnesota, and 6-9 Matthew Hurt who is just a freshman but figures to get recruited by everybody before he's through.
All of that talent prevailed for the second time in as many games for the Rockets, who played less than perfectly, but still overwhelmed Mankato East 68-49 in the Big Nine Conference contest Tuesday at JM.
As much offensive firepower as the Rockets possess, they got things done as much with their defense, quickness and length as anything.
Two statistics stick out most: JM finished with 19 blocked shots, led by Michael Hurt with 10. That was part of a triple-double for the Rockets' unselfish and multi-talented guard/forward. He also scored 13 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and added six assists.
The other overwhelming stat was rebounds: JM grabbed 42, East 25. Matthew Hurt had 13 rebounds (to go with 23 points, four blocked shots, six assists and three dunks), Michael Hurt 12 and Guard D'Angelo Tines seven.
One more important thing that JM did was play hawking defense, finishing with 10 steals. Many of those picks resulted in run-out layups, two of them resounding dunks by Matthew Hurt. The Rockets have an ability to get out in passing lanes and do damage.
"We played much better defense than our first game," said JM coach Kirk Thompson, whose team is ranked ninth in the state in Class AAAA. "We had a lot more energy on the defensive end, and we did that without fouling. And 19 blocked shots — I don't think I've ever seen that before."
JM, which struggled with turnovers (15 of them), had an uncharacteristic five of them by Michael Hurt. Four of them came before halftime, which ended with JM leading 33-21.
Still, the Rockets star did all kinds of good stuff with that triple double. Hurt says scoring isn't what he's after, even though he averaged 21 points per game last year and figures to be in that range again.
"I want to score when it's there, but I want to make an impact in lots of areas," Hurt said. "I want to improve my game in every aspect."
JM finished with four players in doubles figures. Joining the Hurt brothers there were Adams and Walden, each with 12 points.
East, ranked No. 4 in Class AAA, got a strong game from 6-4 forward Krisean Coffee, with 13 points. Damani Hayes added 10.
John Marshall 68, Mankato East 49
MANKATO EAST (68)
Krisean Coffee 13 P; Ben Schwartz 4 P; Damani Hayes 10 P, 2 3-PT; Uhana Ochan 3 P; Dez Bassett 6 P; Dominick Nussmeier 2 P; Sam Ahrens 8 P, 1 3-PT; Hunter Oberle 3 P.
JOHN MARSHALL (49)
Isaiah Walden 12 P, 2 3-PT; Miguel Rios 2 P; Ray Adams 12 P, 1 3-PT; Matthew Hurt 23 P, 13 R, 1 3-PT; D'Angelo Tines 4 P; Benjamin Karls 2 P; Michael Hurt 13 P, 2 3-PT.
Halftime:JM 33, EAST 21.
Free throws:EAST 7-10, JM 10-16.
Three-point goals:EAST 3, JM 6.