SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- Two of the top boys basketball teams in Iowa square off in Sioux City on Friday as East goes to Bishop Heelan. The Black Raiders are ranked second in Class 4A and the Crusaders are second in 3A. East beat Heelan, 59-51, in their first meeting on December 14th.
The Black Raiders got a big addition to the team on Tuesday, when 6'11" transfer Mading Thok made his varsity debut. Thok had 14 points and 14 rebounds in a win over West. Teaming with 7'1" classmate Adam Woodbury, East has one of the tallest high school teams in Iowa history, and have created a nightmare matchup for their opponents.
"Me and Mading are going to have to play well on the defensive end, alter shots, change their shots and just be a force down there with them and make them take shots they don't want to take," said Woodbury.
"We're just planning on taking it right at them, said Heelan senior Alex Malloy. "We're a really athletic team and we're just going to use that to our advantage."
"We're expecting a lot of pressure...full-court pressure," said East senior Quinton Behlers. "In practice we've been working on getting the ball up the court and handling the press. Then we just got to give it to the big men because we've got a major size advantage."
"Whenever we tried driving last game, Woodbury was always there to make us change our shot," said Heelan senior David Kerian. "Now we'll be able to hit our jump shots and go straight at Woodbury.
The two-time defending state champs from Heelan are 10-2. The Crusaders shot just 28% in the first meeting with East, compared to 61% for the Raiders. Heelan is hoping they shoot better in their own gym.
"I think what will help our shooting percentages is staying the heck away from Adam Woodbury," said Heelan Head Coach Tom Betz. "He altered quite a few of those shots the first time around. We talked to our guys about picking your times when you take it at the big guy. We've got to probably shoot more jumpers."
"I'm certainly sure they'll probably try to get better shots but when you can put those big boys in the middle it certainly alters a lot of things," said East Head Coach Jeff Vanderloo. "It takes a lot of things away from other teams. We have that so we might as well use it."
That's a 7:30 game at Heelan on Friday night.
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