Your Prep Sports
WEST BRANCH – Eight games into the season Jarod Tylee and the West Branch girls basketball team have seen plenty of defenses designed to slow senior center Delaynie Luneckas.
Teams have tried various types of zones, packed players in the paint and attempted to surround the 6-foot-2 Luneckas with double and even triple teams.
The Bears know the best way to loosen things up inside.
Hit shots from the perimeter.
“It’s something we talk about and we emphasis,” Tylee explained. “We are only going to get the ball to Delaynie when we can stretch the defense and make outside shots.”
On Tuesday Camanche became the latest team to gang up on Luneckas in the post only this time the rest of the Bears took advantage.
Sophomore Kylie Pickett hit four three-pointers and freshman standout August Palmer drilled a pair of triples as Class 2A ninth-ranked West Branch rolled to a 56-30 win over Camanche in a River Valley Conference cross-divisional contest in West Branch.
“We don’t work on shooting a lot at practice, we focus a lot more on defense but we know the shooting will come and shots will go in,” Pickett said. “I think we are confident in our shooting.”
West Branch entered the game shooting 25 percent from three-point range.
The Bears were better than that on Tuesday going 7-of-20 from downtown including 3-of-5 in a 17-point first quarter.
Pickett buried a pair of first-quarter three-pointers and Palmer had a three in the opening quarter as West Branch jumped to a 17-8 lead.
“It’s stuff we try to work on in practice and we aren’t the greatest shooting team at this point but hopefully as the season progresses we start to make some shots,” Tylee said. “Kylie made some shots tonight, Aly stepped up and made a shot tonight and Augie has been making shots so the better we can do that the more in open things up for Delaynie and Sadie inside.”
The early shooting success gave Pickett and the Bears a boost and opened up the middle for Luneckas who made her final four field goal attempts and finished with 14 points.
Pickett finished 4-of-10 from beyond the three-point arc and added 14 points while Palmer led the Bears with a game-high 16.
“We are definitely getting more confident with our shooting and even with driving the ball,” Palmer said. “It’s really fun when we can play offense like we did tonight when teams are triple teaming Delaynie.”
West Branch made just two three-pointers and committed a season-high 28 turnovers in a 46-40 loss to Bellevue last Friday.
The Bears took better care of the ball (12 turnovers) and were much more efficient offensively (43 percent field goal shooting) on Tuesday.
“This was for sure a big win after our loss last week,” Pickett said. “To get this win really helped.”
West Branch closed the first half on a 7-3 that started with a Palmer three-pointer and ended with a Pickett jumper with six seconds left in the opening half that put the Bears up 28-17.
The Bears opened the second half with an 11-2 burst that pushed the margin to 52-27.
West Branch forced Camanche into 22 turnovers including 12 in the second half.
“I think we played pretty well on defense,” Palmer said. “We were able to make them turn the ball over quite a few times with our pressure.”
West Branch improved to 7-1 on the season and in RVC play with the win and enters the 2022 portion of the schedule in the thick of the RVC South Division chase.
Camanche was led by Danika Dodson and Emerson Crigger with nine points each and dropped to 3-5 on the season and 2-4 in RVC play.
“I’m just proud of our kids for our first half of the season,” Tylee said. “Considering what we lost from last year to be 7-1 I’m not sure a lot of people thought we’d be where we are right now.”
Camanche 8 9 8 5 – 30
West Branch 17 11 13 15 – 56
Camanche (30) – Celina Hermann 0-1 0-0 0, Aubrey Carstensen 1-4 0-0 3, Ella Blinkinsop 1-3 0-0 2, Isabelle Beal 1-2 0-0 2, Miley Duritza 1-6 0-0 3, Danika Dodson 2-4 3-4 9, Emerson Crigger 3-9 0-0 9, Kennady Bigwood 1-3 0-0 2, Totals 10-32 3-4 30.
West Branch (56) – Sadie Smith 2-4 1-2 5, Alyse Klinkkammer 2-4 0-0 5, Kylie Pickett 5-12 0-0 14, Delaynie Luneckas 6-13 2-2 14, August Palmer 7-15 0-0 16, Avery Schultes 0-1 0-0 0, Iva Senio 0-2 0-0 0, Olivia Naber 1-2 0-1 2, Totals 23-53 3-5 56.
3-point field goals – WB 7-20 (Klinkkammer 1-3, Pickett 4-10, Palmer 2-6, Schultes 0-1), CAM 7-18 (Carstensen 1-2, Duritza 1-3, Dodson 2-4, Crigger 3-8, Bigwood 0-1). Rebounds – WB 31 (Palmer 7), CAM 22 (Crigger 5). Turnovers – WB 12, CAM 22. Total fouls – WB 7, CAM 9. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.