One of the most anticipated post duals of the season was played in Waconia last night where the Wildcats defeated the Tigers from Delano 62-60. Waconia's Shelby Moats and Delano's Mike Yahnke each scored 21 points as the AAU teammates went back and forth at each other in the purple Waconia paint.
The build-up for the game was 6-foot-8 Shelby against 6-foot-7 Yahnke and right from the start the pair went at each other. Shelby scored three quick field goals while Yahnke battled for four quick buckets himself.
As the game moved on the flow changed for both. Yahnke switched off to guard the Waconia power forward while senior strong man Darius Clare went to work defending Moats. Both Moats and Yahnke would continue to score inside but Moats also took his range to the perimeter to make shots while Yahnke spent a lot of time building his point total from the free throw line.
Shelby had one of the more memorable plays in the second half when a teammate missed a jumper and the ball bounced hard to the corner. Moats was in the opposite corner and the furthest away of the ten players on the floor from the basketball but through complete hustle he chased the basketball down into the corner to recover the possession. From there the ball worked it's way back to Shelby who nailed a three that gave the Wildcats a big boost of momentum after they had fallen behind.
Both Yahnke and Moats have soft touches for big men. Each has a very smooth release and each time these bigs shoot you get the feel that the shot is going to drop. Moats has more range on his shot and his motion is cleaner where as Yahnke takes a little time to shoot as he rocks it down some.
Inside both used their bodies quite affectively to finish. Moats did a lot of clearing with his strong base getting deep and then bumping the defender off on the turn. On his face-ups Shelby used his base to clear the defender a couple feet off as the turn at the hips and shoulders is so well executed. Yahnke showed pretty good footwork particularly on one of the best up and under moves I have seen all year. He stepped to his left, used a slight fake, and at that moment the defender shifted up the lane. Quickly Yahnke stepped through to clear the defender and score. Also impressive later in the game was Yahnke's ability to step into Moats deep under the bucket and still finish lay-ins
Moats looked an inch and a half or two inches bigger than Yahnke last night and his shooting motion is cleaner. Both are solid prospects with Moats drawing the interest from the better D1 mid-majors, the Mountain West schools, and some high majors as well. If he's a sure high major D1 kid depends on Shelby's development but having a Utah offer before his junior year is quite impressive. Yahnke looks like a player who will be a nice D2 post and word is that he has some Ivy League interest as well and any time that could be an option up know this is an impressive young man. Not sure if he plays football or not but considering his build, strength, and footwork Mike may be able to protect the Delano quarterback as well as be a standout on the hardwood.
Last night's game was won by Waconia as junior Ben Kortuem hit a three pointer with 17 seconds left that gave his team a one point lead that they held for good. Kortuem and sophomore Alex Schmitt are good shooters and crafty players overall. Schmitt scored 14 points while Kortuem had nine. For Delano Joe Silhacek had a dozen points and Jake Raskob scored ten. Darius Clare also played a big role in Delano competing with Waconia to the final buzzer. Clare defended Moats for good parts of the game, he was big on the glass, Clare had a huge tip-in late and completed another field goal inside, plus he assisted to Yahnke for a pair of scores inside on post-to-post looks.
Delano's loss dropped them to 7-2 on the season. They have picked up defeats over Hastings, Rockford, Becker, and Glencoe-Silver Lake (twice) amongst others. They lost by 11 points to Hutch and by two to Waconia. Yahnke leads the team in scoring at 18.9 points a contest with Silhacek second at 9.3 points a night.
Waconia's win improved them to 7-2 on the year. The Wildcats have now defeated Minnetonka, Sibley East, Edina, Shakopee, and Delano amongst others. They lost by five to Hutch and by 14 to Eden Prairie. Moats leads them with 21.7 points a game while Kortuem is scoring 12.4, and Danny Fischbach is at 10.1.
Waconia and Delano face off Tuesday, February 9th at Delano for the rematch