NEWVILLE — Jason Creek takes meticulous notes when scouting opposing players. Before games he hands his players a detailed breakdown, and afterwards he and his staff reexamine those sheets and adjust any notes for players they may face again in the future.
A few years ago, after Big Spring played Boiling Springs, Creek didn’t “star” Dylan LaNoue, a designation that means he expects that player to blossom into a dangerous threat.
LaNoue didn’t likely know that before this season. But he’s since developed into one of the Mid-Penn Colonial’s best athletes, if not the best. On Friday night in a raucous Big Spring gymnasium, LaNoue lit the Bulldogs up for 24 points a pair of dunks, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal in a 67-54 win. He’d deserve a star if he wasn’t a senior.
It was yet another chapter in the forward’s breakout campaign in which he’s averaging 19.2 points per game for the 8-4 Bubblers (5-2 Colonial). LaNoue has now scored 24 points in both games against his arch rival, leading the Bubblers to yet another season sweep of the Bulldogs (6-6, 1-6).
“He’s as good athletically as anyone we have [in the division],” Creek said. “He can sky, he really can. And then you add the fact that he’s improved his pull-up, his shooting ability.
“He’s worked really hard, obviously, to be a better basketball player.”
LaNoue’s vertical was on full display at the end of a monster second quarter. After Big Spring led 7-6 through eight minutes of play, Bubbletown embarked on runs of 9-0 and 11-0 to take a 30-18 halftime lead.
LaNoue put the exclamation point on the frame (and inevitably the game) on a thunderous slam off an alley-oop from Zach VonStein. The Bubblers worked the ball around the perimeter. VonStein, on the left wing, hesitated a split second before lofting a perfectly placed pass right at the rim for a leaping LaNoue, who had received a screen on the block from Gavin Donley.
Thing of beauty. @vonstein13 alleys it up to LaNoue, who throws it down!— Jake Adams (@jakeadams520) January 13, 2018
That's the capstone to a tremendous 2Q for Boiling Springs, up 30-18, and LaNoue, who had 11 that frame and 13 overall.
Bubblers owned that entire 8 minutes. Great press D translated to shots falling. pic.twitter.com/zQ89gyyxNz
The jam sent Boiling Springs’ student section into a frenzy.
“The screen was set perfectly and then Zach just saw me, I gave him the signal — perfect pass, actually, it was right over the rim and I could just easily catch it and put it in,” LaNoue said.
He added another dunk in transition after swiping the ball from the Bulldogs to cap the third quarter with a 46-37 lead. LaNoue finished the night 7-of-14 from the field with a balanced blend of shots at the rim and crisp mid-range jumpers.
“He’s worked very hard to make himself a player, and he’s done a very good job doing that,” Bubblers coach Pat Dieter said. “He’s reaping the rewards the way he plays now.”
Three of LaNoue’s makes were jumpers, a shot he’s worked tirelessly on with jab steps to create space. He spent a lot of time with former Carlisle great Deshawn Millington working on the move.
“That’s kind of a lost art in the game of basketball,” Dieter said. “He’s one that just deserves so much credit for the work that he’s put in on his own.”
LaNoue was quiet to start, scoring just two points in a sluggish first quarter as both teams tried to figure each other out.
But then the floodgates opened. LaNoue scored 11 in the second quarter, the decisive frame for the Bubblers. He iced the game in the fourth with seven points.
The Bubblers shot 9-of-13 in the second quarter, tilting the game in their favor quickly on a 9-0 run that made it a 17-9 game. Boiling Springs’ lead after that never dipped below five points.
LaNoue made a pair at the line, then knocked down a baseline jumper during the run. Hacker dropped a J from the line, then Myers made a free-throw. LaNoue capped it with another jumper seconds later.
It wasn’t all LaNoue, though. Carson Myers knocked down three 3-pointers to finish with 12 points and four rebounds, while VonStein added 11 and four. Grayson Hacker also added 11 and six as Boiling Springs led in both rebounds and assists on the night.
“I was telling some old fans that tonight came to the game, this is just a great bunch of kids I have right now,” Dieter said. “They’re good ball players, but every day in practice we feel like they’re getting better. They’re learning to play the game a little bit more every day.”
Big Spring did not play a bad game by any means. Trevor Moyer led a furious comeback attempt in the third quarter, scoring 13 of his 15 points in the frame on right-side 3s and transition buckets. Peyton Bechtold added 14 points and four assists, while he and Gavin Pritchard hauled in four boards.
But Big Spring was just 6-of-25 in the first half and made it to the free-throw line six times to Bubbletown’s 18.
“I feel better about this loss to a rival than I do, for example, the Northern York game a couple nights ago,” Creek said. “Because we fought hard, our intensity was there.”