There were some positive signs in the first half for the Muscatine boys basketball team.
Muscatine’s big men used their size to block the layups of North Scott’s lightning quick guards. Senior guard Jackson Foulk scored seven points in the opening minutes, and Joe Wieskamp praised the guards for their effective drives and passing out to open shooters.
However, Wieskamp didn’t acknowledge the most significant event in the first half, at least as far as the Iowa history books are concerned. Having already broken the school scoring record as a junior, the senior Iowa commit passed Davenport North legend and former NBA player Ricky Davis’ 1,619 points to become the Mississippi Athletic Conference’s all-time leading scorer.
He did it in style, too.
Wieskamp elevated for a 3 at the top of the key after coming off a screen, but once he realized the defender was too close to get a good shot off he threw the ball straight down while in air, landed, kept his dribble, took one more dribble and threw down a thunderous two-handed dunk to the delight of the home crowd in the second quarter.
But that along with his 33 points wasn’t enough, as Muscatine fell to North Scott, 61-54.
“A lot of people have been talking about it and been in my ear about it,” Wieskamp said. “’Like telling me tonight’s the night.’ I wasn’t really worried about it. I knew if I went out there and performed it was something I could accomplish.
“But at the end of the day I wanted to get a win, and we weren’t able to accomplish that so I got a lot of work left to do.”
The Muskies (1-1) controlled the game early on and jumped out to an 18-12 lead behind a balanced scoring effort. Wieskamp was the focal point, but seniors Bryce Howard and Lex Hahn finished a few plays down low and senior Jackson Foulk scored seven points, all in the first half, including a three-pointer to give the Muskies a 21-15 lead.
“The thing with him (Foulk) is we have to keep him consistent and keep his head in it throughout the game,” Wieskamp said.
However, turnovers kept the Muskies from building a bigger lead early and the Lancers were able to close the lead to just 27-25 by halftime.
Wieskamp opened the third quarter with six quick points off a layup plus the foul and a contested 3-pointer to give the Muskies a 33-29 lead, but the Lancers' quickness took over from there. Muscatine coach Gary Belger noted before the season that Muscatine was a tall, long, but not very quick team, and that proved costly in the third quarter.
North Scott proceeded to end the quarter on a 19-5 run that was started by a pair of open 3-pointers off screens but fueled by its guards attacking the paint and getting layups.
“They were just taking it hard and getting some layups,” Wieskamp said. “We weren’t pushing as much offensively as we should be and getting easy looks like we’re trying to do. They just hit more shots than we did.”
The Muskies' turnovers prevented them from building a bigger lead in the first half, but it also helped dig them a 47-38 hole in the third quarter. Even though Wieskamp finished the game with 33 points, none of them came easy.
“Credit to them, they played really good defense on me,” Wieskamp said. “Every time I’d drive they had a guy help out. We have to eliminate those turnovers and stress taking care of the ball.”
Wieskamp said the Muskies will go back and watch film to see how they can improve offensively. On a night where he became the MAC’s all-time leading scorer with 1,643 points all he could think about was Muscatine’s next matchup with North Scott.
“They have little guys reaching as you’re driving,” Wieskamp said. “It’ll definitely make us a lot better and next time we play we’ll be ready for it.”
North Scott 61, Muscatine 54
Muscatine stats only
Muscatine (54) -- Joe Wieskamp 11-16 8-8 33, Jackson Foulk 2-3 2-2 7, Josh Hutton 1-5 1-2 4, Lex Hahn 2-5 0-0 4, Jose Melendez 1-5 1-3 4, Bryce Howard 1-3 2, Cooper Zeck 0-0 0-2 0. Totals: 18-37 12-17 54.
Three-point goals -- Muscatine 6-15 (Wieskamp 3, Melendez, Hutton, Foulk)