The Albia Blue Demon basketball team took one step forward in the post season by defeating Van Buren 70-55 on Thursday night in Albia.
“Van Buren definitely came to play,” said Coach Kevin Archer. “They played us tough from the start.”
After the Blue Demons got off to a quick 4-0 start, the Warriors made a run that gave them a 9-4 lead only to have Trey Griffin cut the deficit with a three point goal. Van Buren managed to hold on to the lead until with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter. Albia went on a 6-0 run with Nate Wynn and Jackson Pence providing inside scoring power.
The second period began with Albia claiming a 20-14 edge. Three point goals by Blake Chance, Brayden Messamaker and Wynn fueled a 19-point performance by the Blue Demons.
But the Warriors were able to keep pace with a 16-point effort coming mainly from solid drives to the basket. The teams headed to the locker room with Albia on top 39-30.
Van Buren came out of the halftime ready to cut the margin and did so quickly with a three-point goal, a traditional three-point play and a tough inside goal while holding Albia to one point. At the five minute mark the Warriors had tied the game at 40-40.
Neither offense was able to make headway for the next four minutes. Van Buren did not score and Albia made three free throws. A basket and three more free throws gave Albia a 47-42 lead going into the final eight minutes.
Messamaker started the Blue Demon attack with a bang hitting a shot from deep and Blake Chance found his brother Drew for quick points inside. Another three-point goal by Messamaker midway through the fourth quarter seemed to give the Blue Demons a comfortable margin at 57-45.
Van Buren, who pretty much runs a five-man rotation, got into deep foul trouble, fouling two of their big men out.
Free throws down the stretch by Messamaker and Griffin sealed the victory.
Messamaker led the team in scoring with 16 points while Blake Chance added 14 and Drew Chance had 12. Blake Stewart had four, Wynn seven, Joe Teno two, Griffin eight, and Pence six.
The Blue Demons improve to 17-3 on the season.