Leopold boys basketball team wins Woodland title

Sunday, December 2, 2012
Leopold’s Cameron Davis goes up for a basket as Scott City’s Jesse Sanders defends during the first quarter of the Woodland Tournament championship game Friday in Marble Hill, Mo. (Fred Lynch)

The Wildcats cruised to a 55-37 victory over Scott City

MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- Scott City won the opening tip, pushed the ball quickly down court and scored an easy layup.

But a scoreboard error nullified the play, leading to a re-tip. It was that kind of night for the Rams.

Leopold wore down the Rams with its superior height and experience, rolling past Scott City 55-37 in Friday night's championship game of the Woodland Tournament.

Joe Elfrink led a balanced scoring attack with 15 points as the top-seeded Wildcats claimed their first Woodland Tournament title since 2008 and only the second in school history.

Scott City's Ryan Brock is guarded by Leopold's James Jansen, left, and D.J. Keim during the third quarter of the Woodland Invitational championship Friday, Nov. 30 in Marble Hill, Mo. (Fred Lynch)

Leopold (3-0) forced seven turnovers in the first quarter in building a 14-6 lead and extended it to 28-18 at the half. Consecutive steals by Leopold's D.J. Keim led to layups by Cameron Davis late in the third as the Wildcats built their biggest lead at 53-23 after three periods.

Scott City committed 20 turnovers in the game that led directly to 17 Wildcat points.

"They're a young team, and those turnovers come in bunches sometimes, especially when you've got guys pressuring like the guards we've got," said Leopold coach Andy Beck. "I feel like our pressure -- I don't think we're second to anybody. With Cameron and D.J. up top, and those guys that come off the bench, I think we can get after some people. And it showed tonight."

The heavy pressure and steals weren't necessarily by design, they just happened.

"We knew if we tried to rile them up a bit they'd probably turn the ball over so that's what we tried to do," said Davis, a junior guard who chipped in 12 points. "But [Coach Beck] wanted us to stay back because he knew they'd try to penetrate."

Beck credited his guards with shutting down Scott City's penetration, which worked so well in a 52-43 semifinal win over Oak Ridge on Thursday.

"Scott City wants to run, that's just the bottom line," he said. "We thought their penetration was going to hurt us, and that's the one thing we talked about. We wanted to make them shoot jump shots."

And when those shots didn't fall, Leopold controlled the boards and slowly pulled away.

"They're so long and athletic and they do a good job of cutting off passing lanes and moving their feet and cutting you off," Scott City coach Mark Dannenmueller said about the Wildcats. "And if you do get past their guards, they have big guys waiting for you. You've got to kind of pick your spots, and then you've got to kick and hit your open shots when you get them.

"We told them, when you get an open shot you've got to knock it down, and we just didn't knock 'em down. That's part of it sometimes."

When the Wildcats saw that the Rams were cold from the outside, they turned up the pressure and didn't back down. The result was third-quarter runs of 9-0 and 13-0 that opened up a 30-point cushion and had Dannenmueller emptying his bench early.

"There are certain times in the game where you smell that blood and go for the steal, and that's where we really got to pick it up and put teams away and create some separation," Elfrink said.

Beck praised the leadership of his senior guards, Elfrink and Keim, along with Davis.

"Cameron, as a junior, he's a huge leader," Beck said. "He's come a long way since last year. He's really stepped into a leadership role. He really slows us down and puts us in situations where we're on the gas pedal and he's backing off."

Dannenmueller thought his young squad could be in for a long night.

"They're good," he said about Leopold. "I'm not going to take anything away from them, there's no doubt about that. They had a lot to do with it. But basically you've got to have guys step up and make shots, and we didn't.

"I think we were just overwhelmed a little bit. We tried to prepare for it. I really think they were overwhelmed. I think [seniors] Ryan [Brock], Jesse [Sanders] and Jonathan [McFall] have so much on their shoulders to try and carry us. We've just got to have other guys step up, and we just didn't have that.

"I'm proud of my kids. I'm not disappointed in them at all, I'm disappointed in the way we played."

Scott City 612514--37
Leopold1414252--55

SCOTT CITY (37) -- Drew Short 3, Trent Pobst 3, Jesse Sanders 6, Dillon Brown 9, Isiah Berry 3, Jonathan McFall 4, Ryan Brock 9. FG 13, FT 7-11, F 7. (3-pointers: Brown 3, Berry 1. Fouled out: none)

LEOPOLD (55) -- Austin Bucher 4, D.J. Keim 8, Kyle Stroder 7, Joe Elfrink 15, Cameron Davis 12, Brandon Jansen 3, James Jansen 6. FG 24, FT 3-6, F 15. (3-pointers: Bucher 1, Keim 2, J. Elfrink 1. Fouled out: none)

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