PATCH GROVE — Senior point guard Brayden Johnson and his Iowa–Grant teammates dominated the four-team River Ridge Holiday Tournament last Wednesday.
Johnson scored a game-high 25 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists to lead the Panthers to a 69–48 victory over Albany in the championship game.
Johnson made six of his nine field goals and scored 13 points in the second half as I–G dominated the final 18 minutes of play, 39–22, to pull away for a 21-point win.
“Brayden is a relentless competitor who really likes the big moments,” said Iowa–Grant head coach Toby Tripalin. “He is one of the toughest competitors I’ve been around and he is a team leader and gets after it every moment. In the championship, he took over and really forced the pace and looked to exploit their transition defense.”
Leading scorer Isaac Anderson scored a season-low nine points, but senior Collin Price (14 points) and junior Caleb Hill (12 points) both played key supporting roles, each scoring in double figures.
Price made 8 of 9 free throw attempts in the game and Hill scored eight points in the second half. The Panthers, who improved to 7–1 on the season, made 16 of 19 free throws in the game.
“Collin is a really good team defensive player and does a lot of the intangible stuff that doesn’t get press, like setting hard screens, good defensive rotations and tough box-outs,” saidd Tripalin. “He finished well around the basket in this tournament.
“Caleb has done a nice job of being aggressive and forcing defenses to respect his finishing ability,” added Tripalin. “He also has done a nice job in our team defense and both of these guys are positive leaders for our team.”
Albany standout senior guard Tyler Dahl scored a game-high 26 points, including 16 in the first half to keep the Comets close at halftime, 30–26, but was held to just one field goal in the second half.
“We are playing pretty well right now and we really used our defensive intensity and pace to separate ourselves from the competition in the tournament,” said Iowa–Grant head coach Toby Tripalin. “I’m happy with how we played last week. I like where we are as a team, but I think we have only scratched the surface compared to how good we can be.”
Earlier in the day, Iowa–Grant blew out River Ridge (Ill.) in the semifinal round, 60–41.
Anderson poured in a game-high 21 points and grabbed six rebounds in the rout. Johnson added 15 points, including 12 in the first half as the Panthers bolted out to a 28–15 lead, and eight assists.
Johnson scored on a coast-to-coast layup two minutes into the game to start the scoring, then assisted on back-to-back baskets by Price.
Johnson then scored three straight baskets, assisted on an Anderson layup, then buried a three-pointer to spur a 14–0 Iowa–Grant run that made it 20–4. River Ridge never recovered.
Price finished with eight points and six rebounds. Hill added eight points and four assists.
The Panthers returned to action Tuesday night with a Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League game at Boscobel (3–3, 0–3 SWAL) on Tuesday. They will next travel to Fennimore (5–3, 2–1) on Friday night. I–G will travel to Lancaster (3–5) for a non-conference game on Tuesday.
River Ridge Tournament Semifinal
Iowa–Grant 60, River Ridge (Ill.) 41
(from Wednesday, Dec. 30 @ Patch Grove)
Iowa–Grant 28 32 — 60
River Ridge (Ill.) 15 26 — 41
Iowa–Grant (6–1) — Brayden Johnson 15, Isaac Anderson 21, Caleb Hill 8, Chad Thomas 4, Collin Price 8, Milo Laufenberg 2, Dominique Stanton 2. Totals — 28 2-3 60.
River Ridge — Brown 2, Streight 12, Wild 2, Thomas 9, Kiley 4, Mclane 12. Totals — 17 4-13 41.
3-point goals — IG: 2 (Johnson 2); RR: 3 (Streight 2, Thomas 1). Team fouls — IG: 14, RR: 9. Fouled out — none.
River Ridge Tournament Championship
Iowa–Grant 69, Albany 48
(from Wednesday, Dec. 30 @ Patch Grove)
Iowa–Grant 30 39 — 69
Albany 26 22 — 48
Iowa–Grant (7–1) — Jack Reeves 2, Brayden Johnson 25, Isaac Anderson 9, Caleb Hill 12, Collin Price 14, Sawyer Stuckey 4, Erik Raimer 3. Totals — 24 16-19 69.
Albany (6–3) — Jacob Elmer 1, Tyler Dahl 25, Cole Trapp 5, Travis Oliver 9, Brock Gilkes 2, Logan Ross 6. Totals — 15 13-18 48.
3-point goals — IG: 5 (Johnson 3, Hill 1, Raimer 1); A: 5 (Dahl 1, Trapp 1, Oliver 3). Team fouls — IG: 18, A: 19. Fouled out — IG: Reeves; A: Ross.