LISBON – He expected an adjustment period, but what Matt Haddy has gotten is midseason form instead. At least offensively.
The Lisbon boys’ basketball coach watched his team accumulate big-time point totals in its first two games, putting up 94 on Preston and 93 on East Buchanan. Tuesday night brought a mere mortal 76 points in a victory over Midland.
It’s especially impressive considering the guts of the team went straight from football to basketball with no break. That includes Haddy, who was the defensive coordinator for Lisbon’s Class A state championship football team.
“I didn’t expect to score 90 in the opener and shoot it as well as we did,” Haddy said. “A good season is something we have hoped for. But it was kind of tough to gauge where we’d be early.”
The coach and roughly half the team missed the first week of hoops practice to prepare for Lisbon’s football title game against West Hancock. Once football ended, everyone had only “six or seven” practices together, though that has turned out to be no big deal.
Of course, it helped that the top eight scorers from last season’s 12-11 team are back, including guard Ben Knake. Lisbon’s football quarterback, he averaged 21.5 points per game last season, piling up 33 this season against Preston and 28 against Midland. More than a scorer, Knake finished with two points against East Buchanan, but had 11 assists and six steals.
“He does a lot of things for us,” Haddy said.
But this club, ranked seventh in Class A, is more than just Knake. Five guys scored in double figures against East Buchanan, while Jordan Bahl had 26 points against Preston and Skyler Ellerbach 20 against Midland.
Haddy has installed an up-tempo pace of play offensively to take advantage of a fine group of athletes, and not just football guys. State champion distance runner Connor Smock is averaging 12 points per game.
This team loves to shoot from distance, with 123 attempted 3-pointers already.
“Last year, we were 3-4 going into Christmas,” Haddy said. “We were playing slow, losing games in the 40s. Finally, I just said ‘I can’t watch this anymore.’
“So we went to an adaption of Grinnell College’s system, kind of tweaking it with things that we do well. I told my assistant coach that this was either going to be really, really good or really, really bad.”
It turned out to be the former.
Around the hoop
- How about this for an early season game? No. 4 Iowa City West travels to top-ranked Linn-Mar for a Class 4A doozy Friday night that will be televised live on KCRG-9.2. Linn-Mar, of course, is coming off an unbeaten state championship season, while West placed fourth at state last season.
- Mount Vernon rebounded from a three-point loss to Williamsburg last Friday night to knock off North Cedar the following night, 59-53, in a match of what are expected to be two of the top Class 2A teams in the area and state this season. Williamsburg had rebounded from a 10-point loss to Dyersville Beckman in its opener.
- Outstanding North Cedar senior guard Jordan Hay scored 36 of his team’s 51 points in a season-opening 51-38 win over Calamus-Wheatland last week. That point total ranks fourth in the state in the early going. Montezuma’s Stephen Vavroch matched the 36 in an 83-58 win over Montezuma last week.