Boys have ups, downs to start basketball season

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Brady Musel leaps above Glenville-Emmons defenders to score for the Knights
Chad Smith

The Kingsland boys basketball team had mixed results during the first week of the season. The Knights won their opener at home against Glenville-Emmons 70-58 on Tuesday, Dec. 3. They ran into a hot-shooting Randolph team and lost their first game on the road 79-43 on Friday, Dec. 6. The Knights are 1-1 on the season (1-1 Southeast Conference).

Seniors lead way vs. G-E

Two seniors led the way in the opener for the Kingsland offense. Zach Hauser and Brady Musel each finished with double-doubles in the first game of the season. Musel, at 6-foot-8, led the Knights with 27 points and was second on the team with 11 rebounds. Hauser added 23 points and a team-high 13 boards.

“Our big guys (Brady Musel and Zach Hauser) played well,” said head coach John Fenske. “We had a good high-low game going that night and they fed off each other. One guy will take the ball at the elbow area (either side of the free-throw line, called the high post) and look down low on the block (low post) for the other guy that’ll hopefully be isolated on a defender and play two-on-two basketball.

“If the guy down low isn’t open, then the guy with the ball at the elbow can drive to the basket against his defender. Hauser and Musel hit a lot of high-percentage shots as we had a significant size advantage on Glenville-Emmons. That made a big difference, but we won’t have another advantage like that for a while.”

Musel was one blocked shot from making it a triple-double, getting a team-high nine of the team’s 12 blocked shots. Also, on the defensive end, Kingsland had 13 steals, including three from Luke Howard to lead the team. Howard had a solid all-around game, scoring eight points, a team-best four assists, as well as grabbing six rebounds.

“We didn’t get a lot of outside shooting,” he said. “We had two different guys (William Jahn, Luke Howard) each hit one three-pointer. We have to improve from the outside. If we don’t find people who can shoot, defenses are just going to pack up down low on our big guys.”

The Knights hit the glass hard, pulling down 45 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive end of the floor.

The team finished the game with 17 turnovers against the Wolverines’ defense.

Long night at Randolph

The road trip to Randolph is a long one, listed as one hour and 16 minutes (77 miles) by Google Maps. Combine that with a typically tough Rockets basketball team and it makes for a long night. When the opposition hits a staggering 50 percent of its free throws, the night gets even more challenging.

“They hit 17 of their 35 three-point shots,” Fenske said. “One of their kids had eight of them all by himself. Most teams couldn’t shoot 17 of 35 in practice with nobody guarding them. We went on a run and got their lead down to 12 points. They hit a three on their next three trips down the floor and it was a 21-point deficit again.”

Musel led the team with a double-double of 13 points (5 of 9 from the field) and 13 rebounds. Hauser added nine points, three rebounds, and two blocked shots. Luke Howard added eight points (4 of 5 on free throws), two rebounds, and a block. As a team, the Knights hit just 13 of their 45 shots (28%).

Fenske said Randolph’s success from the outside didn’t happen because the Knights weren’t making an effort on defense. “We were getting hands in their faces, but they were just making shots,” he said.

“Our challenge is having two big guys and playing against a smaller team,” he added. “Their tallest player is their 6-foot-4-point guard. It’s tough for our big guys to match up because their smaller players will pull them out to the perimeter and drive right around them. We tried man defense, we tried zone defense, and neither of them worked that night.”

The team only came up with two steals all night against the Rockets while turning it over 20 times against the Randolph defense. The Knights did have eight blocked shots, including two each from Hauser and sophomore Walker Erdman.


The Knights were to kick off this week on Tuesday, Dec. 10, with a road game at LeRoy-Ostrander. They have a tough test at Grand Meadow on Thursday, Dec. 12, and then wrap up the week on Saturday, Dec. 14, with an Iowa-Minnesota Border Battle game against New Hampton in Decorah. After four straight games on the road, the team returns home on Tuesday, Dec. 17, to play Lyle/Pacelli.