MINNEAPOLIS – Tyus Jones
knows how to rally his troops.
The Apple Valley (Minn.)
point guard and Duke University signee also knows how to dunk and bring down the house.
Jones fueled a 19-0 second-half run with a monster slam (see video above) that led Apple Valley past Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.)
72-59 on Saturday afternoon in the 18th annual Timberwolves Shootout at Target Center.
Blue Valley Northwest, ranked No. 20 nationally by MaxPreps, was clearly rattled after Jones' dunk. The Huskies had just squandered a nine-point lead when Jones sank two free throws to make it 53-52 Apple Valley with 9:43 left in the game.
Apple Valley (11-1) then got a steal by Robert Tobroxen
, who led the fastbreak.
"It was a 3-on-1 and I was coming down the middle and I knew (Ben Richardson) was going to slide over and try to take the charge," Jones said. "He had to stop the ball first, so if I got it I was going to attempt it and just put it down."
The 6-foot-2 Jones felt like he needed to take over the game.
He did just that.
"I thought he was just going to lay it in and then he just goes up and hammers it," Apple Valley coach Zach Goring said. "I think that was a big key to our second half. We got so much energy off that dunk. … Anything he does doesn't surprise me anymore."
Blue Valley Northwest (2-1) was held scoreless for over eight minutes. The Huskies had a four-point lead, 52-48, turn into a 15-point deficit, 67-52. Jones had 12 of his game-high 26 points during the run. He also had eight rebounds and three assists.
Over the years, Jones has become a vocal leader for his teammates.
"He took some leadership late in the game, showing the guys that, 'Hey, if we sit down and defend, we can do this,'" Goring said. "We turned this deficit into a good lead, let's keep it going."
Apple Valley's defense clamped down, allowing just seven points in the final 10 minutes of the game. Blue Valley Northwest hit just 10 of 30 shots in the second half. The Eagles were 11-for-19 from the field in the final half. For the game, Apple Valley went 23-for-47.Gary Trent Jr.
tallied 17 points for Apple Valley while Clayton Custer
scored 18 to lead the way for Blue Valley Northwest.
Apple Valley controlled the tempo early and led 18-11. However, Blue Valley Northwest took a 34-30 advantage at halftime after draining some two 3-pointers by Custer and Ben Richardson
"We weren't playing real strong around the rim," Goring said. "They were playing good D, but we felt we were getting bumped and weren't getting any calls and we weren't finishing real well. I think in the second half our depth wore them down."
The Huskies jumped out to their biggest lead, 39-30, early in the second half. That's when the tide turned.
"We called a timeout and said, ‘What do we do? Do we back down and keep letting them bury us or do we step up and come back?'" Jones said. "We stepped up, and that was on the defensive end. I didn't want us to get complacent and relax and let them back into the game. We needed to keep getting stops."
The Eagles got the stops and got in transition for easy baskets – something the Huskies did in the first half to build their lead.
"They were a great transition team," Jones said. "They got out early and usually we're the team getting out on transition. It was something different and we had to focus on getting back and making sure we eliminated their second-chance points. The focus was on defense tonight."
After Apple Valley fell 80-70 to Whitney Young (Chicago)
in mid-December, the Eagles needed a bounce-back game against one of the top teams in the country.
"It shows us that we can play with anyone out there," Goring said. "It's fun to see where we're at nationally."Other Shootout games:Lakeville North (Lakeville, Minn.)
took down Grand Rapids (Minn.)
in the Shootout opener, 59-36. Xavier University signee J.P. Macura
scored a game-high 24 points for Lakeville North. Division I recruit Alex Illikainen
tallied 17 for Grand Rapids.Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.)
got 39 points and nine 3-pointers from Sam Neumann
, but lost 71-66 to Bettendorf (Iowa)
. Dylan Sortillo
had 19 points for Bettendorf.
In the third game of the Shootout, DeLaSalle (Minneapolis, Minn.)
beat St. Rita (Chicago)
59-53. DeLaSalle was minus Stanford signee Reid Travis
, but got 29 points from Sacar Anim