LONE TREE — They’re for real. For sure.
“You know, we had that attitude coming in,” coach Tom Squires said. “We had a belief this could be a special season.”
At least it’s been a special week for the Lone Tree Lions.
First came a win on the road over a ranked Mediapolis club. Then came a Tuesday night upset of Class 1A fourth-ranked Iowa Mennonite, 82-75.
Gone is IMS’ 63-game win streak in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference. Arriving is the SEISC’s new kingpin?
Well, let’s not go that route — yet. Lone Tree (6-0) entered the Associated Press poll at No. 9 in 1A this week, but it turns out that’s with a bullet.“We had one of the best offseasons we’ve ever had,” said Lone Tree guard Bryan Forbes. “Going into this season, we knew we could have a really good team. We played in a league over the summer in Davenport, worked out every Tuesday and Thursday. We went up to a team camp at Waldorf (College) in Forest City and won that.”
Virtually everyone returned from last season’s 12-10 squad, including leading scorer Forbes, a three-year junior starter averaging 20 points in the early going. He had a game-high 28 against IMS (4-2), who played without starting forward Johnny Lackender, who was ill.
“He’s a relentless workers,” Squires said. “One thing he doesn’t get credit for that he should is that he plays good defense. The thing with Bryan is that he shoots the ball when he needs to, but he’s also good at getting the other guys involved in the offense.”
That’s good for a guy who doesn’t fashion himself as a true point guard.
“No, more of a two guard,” Forbes said. “We like to get up and down the court, and I feel comfortable distributing the ball to my teammates.”
Lone Tree is forced to be up tempo since its tallest player is 6-foot-2. There are a lot of good athletes on this team, many of whom were members of a Lions football team that made a deep playoff run.
Senior Tyler Gosnell wasn’t a football guy but qualified for the state cross country meet.
“I think we’ve improved on the things we needed to improve on,” Squires said. “We needed to be better at rebounding and defense. And I think we’ve got a lot of depth. We’ve got guys we can bring off the bench who can contribute.”
Around the hoop
— Rylan Murry broke the West Branch school record for points in a game last week, pouring in 45 in a 59-54 win over Bettendorf Morning Star Academy. The 6-foot-8 junior center made 17 of 24 shots from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, and all nine of his free throws.
— Not to be outdone, Midland’s Kasey Lasack had 46 points in a recent 76-74 loss to Lisbon. The 5-foot-11 junior guard hit 18 of 25 field goals and added nine rebounds and seven assists.