Regina Uses 3-point Shooting, Solid Defense to Return to State Tournament

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Photo by Jeff Yoder / Substate Final Photo Gallery

Pat Harty

Your Prep Sports

MUSCATINE – Regina junior guard Masen Miller did his best Jordan Bohannon impersonation on Saturday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Miller made seven of Regina’s 12 3-point baskets and finished with a game-high 29 points as the eight-ranked Regals crushed No. 10 Camanche 69-44 in a Class 2A substate final.

“I do watch Jordan Bohannon a lot,” Miller said of Iowa’s sharpshooting junior point guard who specializes in making big 3-point shots. “That man is clutch. I love watching him. It motivates me, just a guard out there that can shoot it and make tough plays. I really like watching him.

“He really does (give me inspiration). He’s a small guard and to be able to play at that high level and hit those shots is really fun to watch.”

Regina earned a trip to the state tournament with Saturday’s victory and improved to 20-2 overall. One of its two losses came against Camanche during the regular by a score of 60-53 in December.

The Indians were held to a season low in points on Saturday.

“I thought we might have to mix man and zone and play more man because they have so many great shooters,” Regina head coach Jared Galpin said of Camanche, which finished the season with a 20-4 record. “I didn’t know how well zone was going to work and how well we’d be able to cover up those shooters.

“But we did. Yeah, they made some, but the ones they missed, we clean up the rebound. And I’m just really pleased with how well we executed in the half court.”

Camanche scored the first three points in the game, and also led 5-3, but the Regals answered with back-to-back 3-point baskets by senior guard Bryce Barnett. His second trey gave the Regals a 6-5 lead and they would never trail again.

Miller made his first 3-pointer of the game to give Regina a 9-5 lead, and he was just getting started. He made two more treys in the first quarter and three more in the second quarter to help give the Regals a 40-23 lead at halftime. 

Miller nearly outscored Camanche by himself in the first half as he finished with 20 points.

“Masen probably by his standards was struggling with his shot coming into this game, but he made a lot of tough shots,” Galpin said. “And by making those couple shots, he just gave us a boost in the first half. He gave us a boost and then confidence was flowing for everybody. We settled in defensively.”

Miller was among three Regina players who scored in double figures in Saturday’s game. Sophomore forward Ashton Cook scored 21 points, including 14 in the second half, while Barnett finished with 12 points, all of which came on four 3-point baskets.

Camanche paid so much attention to Regina’s perimeter shooters in the second half to where the 6-foot-5 Cook was able get open for some easy layups in transition and in half-court sets.

“It helps a lot because it makes the defense respect our shooters and that opens up lanes so we can drive and kick,” Cook said of Regina’s 3-point shooting.

Regina made 26-of-41 field-goal attempts overall with Miller converting on 10 of his 15 shots from the field. Cook also missed just two of his 11 field-goal attempts.

Miller has put in countless hours in the gym working on his 3-point shot in order to have a special moment like Saturday.

“If I could tell how much Masen has worked for this, you wouldn’t believe it,” Galpin said. “He knew his role was going to change from last year to this year and teams were going to guard him tough. So he knew he was going to have to really work on getting his shot off with people in his face. And he put so much time into this.

“But hats off to all my guys. We really had to grow up at the beginning of the year. We had a lot of young guys. We played four sophomores this year. And we had guys who were role players last year that had to play a more prominent role. But we did. It just took some time.”

Miller and his cohorts also had to learn how to play without 6-9 center Even Brauns, who transferred from Regina to West High as a sophomore last year.

Brauns still is close with a lot of his former teammates and he actually sat in the Regina student section during Saturday’s game, and then celebrated with them afterwards.

“That’s awesome,” Miller said. “Even is one of my best friends. So he told me he was coming out to this game tonight so put something on for him.”

Regina’s success on defense in Saturday’s game didn’t just happen by accident.

“Defense is what we really focused on for this team,” Miller said. “We knew they were an offensive powerhouse team and we really worked on shutting them down and keying in on the scouting report.”

The fact that Saturday’s game turned into a blowout could be a sign that Regina is peaking at the right time.

“Absolutely,” Cook said. “I feel like right now that our offense is rolling and we’re locking down on defense.”

As for Miller’s respect for Bohannon, it makes perfect sense to Galpin.

“Oh yeah, absolutely,” Galpin said. “How could you not?"

Camanche   13  10  11  10  –  44

Regina           19  21  12  17  –  69

Camanche (44) – Carson Seeser 1-4 0-0 3, Caleb Delzell 5-13 1-2 12, Zach Erwin 2-3 1-2 5, Cameron Soenksen 5-14 2-3 14, Zayne Feller 4-4 0-0 8, Calvin Ottens 1-1 0-0 2, Jaxon White 0-1 0-0 0, Ethan Buckley 0-1 0-0 0, Nolan Baker 0-0 0-0 0, Brayden Lodge 0-0 0-0 0, Kyle DeWeerdt 0-0 0-0 0, Payton Draper 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-41 4-8 44.

Regina (69) – Bryce Barnett 4-7 0-0 12, Masen Miller 10-15 2-2 29, Scotty Arendt 0-3 0-0 0, Ashton Cook 9-11 2-2 21, Luke Stein 1-2 0-1 2, Alec Wick 2-3 1-2 5, Patrick Clark 0-0 0-0 0, Joey Maloney 0-0 0-0 0, Jack Keller 0-0 0-0 0, Josdh Dutchik 0-0 0-0 0, Danny Molony 0-0 0-0 0, Nic Hein 0-0 0-0 0, Ben Banta 0-0 0-0 0, Casey Daniel 0-0 0-0 0,  Andrew Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-41 5-7 69.

3-point field goals – Camanche 4 (Soenksen 2, Delzell, Seeser); Regina 12 (Miller 7, Barnett 4, Cook). Fouls –  Camanche 14, Regina 13.

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