Riley Kemmer is trying. He really is.
But no matter what Collegiate’s 6-foot-6 sophomore forward does, it’s just not good enough.
Not even Friday’s 22-point, eight-rebound performance in a 69-32 win over visiting Buhler could ease his worries.
He’s still growing. And his game — all sharp elbows and knees and what teammate Markus Phox likes to call “that sweet little baby hook” — is, too.
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“I’m trying to gain weight, I really amæ.æ.æ. I know it doesn’t look like it, but I just can’t keep it on,” said Kemmer, who said he weighs 185 pounds. “My day starts with three eggs, bacon mixed with ham, a protein shake on the way to school and then I lift weights and drink another protein shake.
“My mom, she’ll even bring me a couple of burgers from Wendy’s after school. Nothing helps. I had hoped I was as tall as I was going to get.”
Buhler had no answer for Kemmer or Collegiate’s stifling defense. The Crusaders, the first-place team in AV-CTL Division III, made 2 of 16 shots in the first half and shot 19.4 percent for the game. No Buhler player scored in double figures.
In the game, Buhler only made seven field goals.
“It’s just disappointing to come out and perform the way we did,” Buhler coach Denny Wahlgren said. “We didn’t represent ourselves very well tonight. Forget about excuses.”
The Spartans got hot early, and after Kemmer’s first three-pointer broke an 8-8 tie in the first quarter, Collegiate rolled into halftime with a 36-15 lead after Trace Clark scored eight of his 10 points over the final five minutes of the first half.
“You know what’s coming from (Collegiate) and you prepare for it as best you can,” Wahlgren said.
Michael Hull added 10 points and seven rebounds for Collegiate.
“We take a lot of pride in our defense and when we come at teams in waves, sometimes it’s hard to deal with,” Phox said.
Kemmer, who also had two blocked shots, kept up his offensive display in the second half with a reverse layup in transition and a pull-up jumper outside the lane.
He capped things off in the fourth quarter with his second three.
“The thing I didn’t think Riley would get this season — I didn’t know if he’d get it, period — is how we expect him to perform in other parts of his game besides offense,” Collegiate coach Mitch Fiegel said. “But you see him out there taking a charge, you see him excited about guarding the other team’s best big man æ.æ.æ. that’s when you start to think he could be a real player.”
And is he done growing?
“I don’t think he is,” Fiegel said. “I honestly think he’s going to be 6-8.”
Buhler (10-4, 5-0) 10 7 10 5 — 32Collegiate (12-1, 4-1) 18 18 21 12 — 69
BUHLER: Torgerson 6, Massey 6, Lohrenz 7, Givens 8, Allen 3, Temel 2. Totals 7 (3) 15-21 32.
COLLEGIATE: Richardson 2, Taylor 2, Ha. Morris 6, Phox 2, Adams 8, Kemmer 22, Burton 10, Hull 3, Hu. Morris 2, Holt 2, Clark 10. Totals 31 (6) 1-2 69.