a single basketball sits on the court before high school state games
Photo Credit: John Peterson

5 Thoughts on Yutan’s Win at Concordia

January 06, 2021

Yutan was having a tough time at Omaha Concordia on Tuesday night, falling behind by as much as 12 in the second quarter. However, Brady Timm wasn’t going to let his team go out like that as the senior point guard dominated the second half to power Yutan to a 40-37 win.

Here are five thoughts on the Class C clash.

Brady Timm Time

Brady Timm has been one of my favorite players to watch over the last few years, and Tuesday night serves as a good reminder for why that is. Timm finished with 26 points (including 18 in the second half), seven rebounds and five steals.

Yutan went into the locker room down 10 at halftime. That changed quickly in the third quarter as Timm opened the period with a personal 12-2 run to tie the game up at 27-all. Later, Timm picked off a pass and took it all the way for a go-ahead layup to give him 14 points in the quarter.

Concordia briefly took the lead back, but junior Jake Richmond knocked down a 3 with a few seconds left to put the Chieftains up 34-32 heading into the fourth quarter, and Timm controlled the action throughout the final frame as well.

Timm scored at all three levels while shooting 3-of-5 from deep and 7-of-9 from the line. At 5-foot-10, Timm  has the ball on a string and he’s strong and athletic enough to get to his spots no matter what the defense is trying to do to him.

I’m guessing the Yutan faithful are pretty used to Timm’s heroics at this paint. On Saturday, Timm scored 15 of his team’s 16 fourth-quarter points — and 25 overall — as Yutan beat Wahoo for the first time since 1986.

Timm is already a 1,000-point scorer as well as Yutan’s all-time assists leader. He’s going to have a great college career at Doane, but not before he gets a ton of buckets this season.

Welcome Back, Students

Improving COVID-19 numbers in some areas has led to a loosening on restrictions at games. Initially Concordia allowed just parents at games, then they expanded the family groups to other close relatives, and for the first time on Tuesday, the school allowed students to attend the game.

Having attended so many games this season without students in the gym, I didn’t realize how much of a difference a student section can make on the overall atmosphere of the game, and occasionally even the game play itself.

Concordia’s student section is behind the visiting team’s basket during the second half. When Timm went to the foul line in the fourth quarter in a two possession game, he had a section of masked-up students yelling and clapping his way in addition to the pressure of the game weighing down on him. Timm went 2-for-2 twice, but he also missed the front end of the bonus twice in a row. I talked to him after the game and he said he had almost forgotten what it was like shooting in front of a student section like that; Tuesday’s game was the biggest crowd he’s played in front of since last season.

The atmosphere is part of what makes high school sports great, and I’m looking forward to the day when we can pack gyms again and have a full student section chanting and cheering all game.

A Defensive Struggle

As you can probably guess based on the final score, Tuesday’s game was all about the defense as neither side really ever got going outside of a big second quarter by Concordia’s Karsten Mathsen and the dominant showing in the third by Timm.

Concordia held Yutan to 31.7% from the field including 4-of-12 from deep. Yutan’s second-leading scorer behind Timm was Sam Petersen with six points, and the Mustangs even managed to keep Timm in check for a while. The senior shot 5-of-14 inside the arc as Concordia’s tight pack-line defense made driving lanes few and far between and forced Timm into some really difficult shots.

I counted five blocks by the Mustangs including at least three by 6-foot-5 junior Justin Otten, and 6-foot-6 junior Zach Alharithy came off the bench and blocked a shot as well. Between the size at the rim and the aggressiveness by the guards on the perimeter, Yutan had a tough time scoring, cracking double digits in a quarter just one time on Tuesday night.

Not to be outdone, however, the Chieftains really ratcheted up the defensive intensity in the second half. After giving up 25 points in the first half, Yutan came out of the locker room pressing, and it paid off with turnovers. Concordia scored just 12 points and had nine turnovers in the second half.

After Mathsen scored nine points on 3-of-4 shooting (a pair of 3s and an and-one), Yutan held him to five points on 2-of-7 shooting in the second half. Overall, Concordia shot just 33.3% from the field and attempted just six free throws all game. Yutan lacks the size and rim protection Concordia has, but made up for it with their intensity on the ball and great anticipation for steals. Concordia hadn’t scored less than 53 points all season and had cracked 70 five times in 10 games, but Yutan held the Mustangs to 37 points.

Keep Away

The defense was strong, but part of the low point total had to do with some serious stalling by both teams late in quarters. Concordia was content to sit on its lead inside of a minute to go in the quarter in the first half.

In the fourth quarter, Yutan returned the favor by beginning to run clock before the four-minute mark. Yutan put the ball in Timm’s hands and he’s such an adept ball-handler and decision-maker that he was able to chew up giant chunks of clock with the Chieftains up two before Concordia finally had to foul him because they couldn’t force a turnover.

Eleven total points in quarter isn’t necessarily my cup of tea (although, I don’t like tea either so maybe it IS like a cup of tea to me), but props to Yutan for executing it, and it is kind of fun to watch Timm pound the rock, avoiding five-second counts and attempted traps.

Tough Backcourt

Twenty-three of Concordia’s 37 points came from its starting backcourt of juniors Karsten Mathsen and Zachary Kulus.

Mathsen led the Mustangs with 14 points and three 3-pointers, and he chipped in four boards, two assists and two steals as well. Kulus added nine points on 3-of-6 shooting while corralling a game-high nine rebounds as a 6-foot guard. In the fourth quarter with Yutan leading by four, Kulus hit a tough fall-away 3 in the right corner on a skip pass from Mathsen in the left corner that made it a one-point game with 43.3 to play.

Both players made some big hustle plays as well. With some decent size in the frontcourt and a pair of guards like Kulus and Mathsen, it’s no surprise that the Mustangs were able to start off the season 9-1 before falling to Yutan on Tuesday.

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