Redhawks steer clear of Comets

North Tama junior Josh Dostal (5) tries to beat the buzzer with a layup in front of BCLUW’s Wyatt Gould (25) during the first half of last Friday’s Iowa Star Conference basketball game in Conrad. Dostal scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Redhawks to victory. PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER

CONRAD — Josh Dostal and the North Tama boys basketball team slashed away at BCLUW with a high-tempo offense, running away from the Comets, 66-45, in Iowa Star South action at BCLUW High School last Friday night.

North Tama improved to 2-0 overall, while BCLUW fell to 0-2 overall.

Dostal poured in a game-high 24 points for the Redhawks, with 18 of those coming in a first half where the Redhawks saw ample opportunities at the free-throw line with aggressive cuts to the basket and quick transitions forcing BCLUW to try and make a play on the run.

Combined with seven 3-pointers, North Tama was a handful for the Comets.

“We’re driving, getting it in the paint, and if they stop us, we’re kicking it out, putting it up and grabbing the rebound,” Dostal said. “We’re playing well together, moving the ball around to everybody.”

Kayler Morris and Jared Dvorak chipped in 15 and 14 points, respectively. The Redhawks did not squander their trips to the free-throw line, either, converting 17-of-25 shots.

BCLUW was within 15-10 after the first quarter, but a 14-4 Redhawk surge to start the second quarter had the Comets on their heels.

Morris hit three 3-point baskets in a row to start the third quarter.

“We thought we could come in with some pressure and they executed well enough where we had to get out of it,” BCLUW head coach Evan Janssen said. “As soon as we’d get [Dostal] stopped, [Morris] would hit a couple of shots and we just can’t let a team get that big of a lead.”

Cael Keller led the Comets with 15 points on Friday. BCLUW got some pressure clicking in the fourth quarter, putting together a 10-2 run, but couldn’t get close enough to truly make the Redhawks sweat.

“It’s no disrespect to North Tama to press when we’re down 20,” Janssen said. “This is just how we have to play if we’re going to improve as a program, if we want to fix the program. We can’t ever quit and it’s a point of pride for us to play as hard as we do. It’s got to be 100 percent attack.”

It’s the first win for North Tama in the series with the Comets since 2018, and a potential sign of good things to come for a Redhawks team returning three regular starters from a 6-win campaign last winter.

Dostal averaged 15.3 points per game last year for the Redhawks and is looking to already be doing more of the same as a junior.

“He always gives us quality minutes not just offensively but when we put him on the other team’s best player, he’s defensively solid, too,” North Tama head coach Ryan Ridout said. “We really lean on him to be a leader of this team.”

“We work on having pace under control,” Ridout said. “We did a really nice job tonight getting the basketball and getting out and running, trying to make sure we’re being efficient and effective there. On defense, we wanted to protect the paint and pack it in and we made it really difficult for them to get points tonight.

“The big thing is chemistry – they’re learning to lean on each other defensively, and we still have work to do offensively, but it was better tonight. … I’m really excited for this group.”