Coming off an always emotional contest against rival Monticello just three days earlier, Anamosa boys’ basketball coach Kevin Barnes sorely wanted a big bounce-back performance from his team hosting West Liberty Friday, Dec. 17.

He more than got it.

Anamosa tallied a season-high in points and rolled to a lopsided 80-52 rout over the Comets with all-everything superstar senior Sam Wilt leading the way.

“Sam was unguardable, again,” said Barnes, as Wilt poured in an amazing 31 points, 19 coming in the first half as the Raiders took a 17-12 lead after one quarter and 30-24 advantage at the half.

“That being said, what I appreciate most about Sam is his unselfishness. I thought he passed up several shots to get his teammates even better ones, and his willingness to defend and rebound, he is just such a complete player.”

Anamosa (5-2, 2-2) trailed 4-0 in the early going as the Comets scored the game’s first two baskets before Wilt ignited the offense for the hosts scoring 10 of his team’s 17 first quarter points while Jake Jess and Austin Goodrich also chipped in.

“It took us a while to get going offensively,” Barnes said. “But defensively, I think we are making progress. We are starting to see better ball movement on the offensive end as well, especially in the second half.

“We had our best offensive rebounding night of the season, which goes hand-in-hand with good ball movement.”

Having 30 points at the half and tenuous six-point advantage at the break, Anamosa completely took over in the final two quarters, led by a huge third quarter surge from a variety of Raider shooters.

Wilt, who was drawing much of the attention from the West Liberty defense, became a facilitator in the second half, though his two 3-point baskets in the frame helped the hosts go on a game-changing 27-11 run to lead 57-35 with just one quarter remaining to be played.

Wilt, Grahm Humpal, Devin Brophy, Jess and Ike Claussen-Tubbs all powered the Anamosa offense with clutch third quarter baskets as the hosts dominated and pull away for the big triumph.

“Our second half was really good again, but we have to continue to have better first halves,” Barnes said. “We want to get to the point where we aren’t talking about being better in the second half. We want to talk about playing for 32-minutes.”

The offensive outburst continued into the fourth quarter as well where the Raiders poured in 23 more points with Brophy, Justin Siefker, Wilt, Claussen-Tubbs, Goodrich and Nate Fischer all getting into the fun.

“I think Dev is really starting to get a feel for how good of a player he is going to be,” said Barnes, as Brophy finished with 11 points in the win.

“He has the ability to finish around the rim and we need him to continue that development as a player. He is rebounding and his defense is getter better every time he takes the floor. I’m excited for him, and us as he continues to improve his game.”

Goodrich came off the bench to score 10 for the Anamosa team while Jess added eight more as nine different Raiders scored in the contest.

The week started with a huge contest hosting class 2A 10th-ranked Monticello, and after getting off to a slow start against the hot-shooting Panthers, Anamosa could never recover and dropped a 71-60 final they did their best to get back into over the game’s final three quarters.

“I thought we really came out timid to start this game,” said Barnes, as the Anamosa High School gym was packed with fans witnessing the contest between two of the River Valley Conference’s top programs.

“I thought we battled through that a little early in the first quarter, and then all of a sudden we started turning the ball over at an alarming rate for a few minutes and found ourselves down 11 at the quarter.

Despite some valiant efforts the rest of the way, the Raiders struggled cutting into that Monticello advantage over the final three quarters as the Panthers led 20-9 after one quarter of play and 45-25 at the half.

“The second half I thought we were really good,” said Barnes, as his team did begin to chip away trimming the deficit to as little as 10 points in the final frame.

“The problem was, it’s really difficult to get down double-digits against a good team and come back. I thought we played pretty good basketball in the second half, but to be a good basketball team you have to play that way for 32-minutes, and we are just not consistently doing that right now.”

Wilt had a big night scoring a team-high 24 points while Humpal added 19 more driving to the rim and scoring on several occasions. Brophy chipped in with six points.

“I thought Jake played as good of a game defensively that I have ever seen him play and I thought Grahm took positive steps being more aggressive offensively,” Barnes said. “Sam continues to play really well. We just need to put it all together for all 32-minutes.”

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