Pey Day!IMS senior Peyton Thompson pours in 40 points in win over Washington
KALONA — Never in grade school. Never in junior high. Never in AAU ball. And certainly never in high school.
IMS senior Peyton Thompson had never had a game like he did on Tuesday night, when he poured in a career-high 40 points to lead his team to an 88-58 win over visiting Washington.
“At the beginning of the game, I missed a couple of shots to start off with,” said Thompson, who also had seven assists and five steals in the contest. “I got a steal and a layup, and after that I started hitting some shots. My teammates started finding me. They found out I had the hot hand, and from there I made some shots.”
That’s an understatement. Thompson was white hot, going 16-for-22 from the field in the contest, including 6-for-11 from 3-point range.
“He had 40, and we didn’t do a very good job of guarding him,” Washington head coach Bryce Smeins said of Thompson. “He had layups and threes and most of them were open looks. He’s a good enough shooter to hurt you if you don’t guard him, and he made us pay when we didn’t guard him.”
But Thompson wasn’t the only IMS player hitting shots. IMS (16-2), which won its sixth straight game, shot 64 percent (36-for-56) from the field and poured in a season-high 88 points in the victory.
“It was that kind of night,” IMS head coach Dwight Gingerich said. “I thought our guys kind of looked for each other. They were aggressive looking for shots, but also looking to make the extra pass.”
It wasn’t Thompson, but teammate Cameron Gingerich, who had the hot hand to start Tuesday’s game. The senior guard, who had missed school and practice the day before due to illness, scored seven points early in the game to help IMS jump out to an 11-5 lead after three minutes of play.
After Washington senior Justin Hoffman tipped in a missed shot and junior Elijah Wood scored a layup on a pass from teammate Thomas Bump to pull the Demons to within two, Thompson drained the first of his six 3-pointers to spark a 13-2 run to close the quarter. Gingerich, who scored all 11 of his points in the first quarter, hit a short jumper with 11 seconds left in the period to give IMS a 24-11 lead after one quarter of play.
“I think we came out with more intensity than we usually do since Washington beat us last year,” Thompson said, recalling last year’s 67-56 loss in Washington. “We had some fury out of the gates.”
IMS led by 18 at halftime, and its lead was still 19 when Thompson erupted for three straight 3-pointers in the final minute and a half of the third quarter. Two were from NBA range, including a buzzer-beater that gave the home team a 68-42 lead going into the fourth quarter.
“After the first one, I felt good,” said Thompson, who had 36 points after three quarters. “After that, I had some set plays run for me. “
Thompson scored a pair of layups early in the fourth quarter and then took a seat with 3½ minutes remaining and his team leading 78-51. IMS cleared its bench, and all 10 players in uniform scored.
“If you go down the lineup for us, I think it was a pretty solid effort by each of the 10 guys,” Dwight Gingerich said.
Hoffman scored 15 points to lead the Demons (4-12), who lost their third straight game. Junior Walker Breard came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points, all in the second half, and senior Kyle Roder chipped in 10 points.
Smeins was disappointed in his team’s defensive effort after giving up a season-high 88 points. IMS seemingly scored at will.
“We were a step slow, maybe two steps slow, all night defensively,” he said. “They played at a faster speed than we did, and we never really adjusted. We didn’t have a very good night defensively, to put it nicely. We compounded it by not guarding them, and that makes a good shooter a great shooter.”
Thompson looked great on Tuesday night, effortlessly pouring in layups and jumpers from all over the court. His coach said he knew Thompson had the capability of having a game like he had on Tuesday night, even if he hadn’t before.
“He had a game when he was on JV where he scored probably 29, and you could tell that this guy had something pretty special,” Dwight Gingerich said of Thompson. “So it became a matter of putting everything together. Right now he’s really putting the pieces together.”