Thursday, 10 January 2019 06:04 Jim Ecker
He injured his back during the preseason, then hurt his ankle and Achilles tendon during a game in December and was sidelined again. All told, he missed five games and had trouble getting into the flow of things.
Sartorius is still not 100 percent in the pink, but he sure looked good Wednesday night.
Sartorius popped off the bench and popped in a career-best 17 points to help the fifth-ranked Eagles pull away from 17th-ranked DMACC, 92-76, in an ICCAC conference game at Johnson Hall.
Sartorius made four 3-pointers and contributed three rebounds, three assists and two steals in the backcourt.
"He was huge," said Kirkwood Coach Bryan Petersen. "That's the Brady Sartorius we were expecting. Obviously, he had a tough go of it in the first semester with injuries.
"I'm really proud of him for coming back and being ready to go. Hopefully, we'll have him the rest of the year."
Sartorius played 26 minutes and appeared to be moving free and easy, but he's still fighting some discomfort.
"My back is still a little sore and the ankle is not fully there, but it's getting better," he said. "I felt good tonight. My shot felt good and it felt like I was in the flow of things."
Sartorius scored 1,807 points at Mount Pleasant and helped the Panthers reach the semifinals of the state tournament in 2017 and 2018 when they compiled an overall mark of 43-7. He led Mount Pleasant in scoring during all four years on the varsity and tossed in 132 3-pointers along the way.He's used to playing a lot of minutes but had to accept a limited role at Kirkwood during the first semester as he fought the injuries.
"It's tough," he said. "I want to be out there with the guys and play. I just took my recovery seriously so I could get back out there as soon as possible."
Petersen likes the way the 6-foot guard plays the game, either as the point guard or on the wing. Petersen said he's tough, smart, a good ballhandler, a good shooter, and a good teammate.
"He knows what we want," said Petersen. "That's the biggest thing for a coach to have confidence in a point guard. He knows what we want when he's on the floor. He did a great job of that tonight. And obviously, he made shots."
The Eagles got off to a slow start and led 35-34 at halftime, but they absolutely sizzled in the second half. The Eagles hit 20 of 26 shots in the second half for 76.9 percent and poured in 57 points in the final 20 minutes.
"I challenged our group at halftime about toughness and finishing plays at the rim, and the guards being able to make the plays that were there for them," said Petersen.
Kirkwood was clinging to a 64-61 lead with about seven minutes left, but the Eagles outscored the Bears 24-11 during a key stretch to take command at 88-72.
All-American Doug Wilson led Kirkwood with 23 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocked shots. Luke Appel also collected a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Connor Kasperbauer scored 13 points and Allante Pickens had 12.
Kirkwood raised its records to 13-2 overall and 3-0 in the league.
Tray Buchanan scored 23 points for DMACC (11-4, 1-1).
DMACC (76): Davidson 4 0-0 8, Buchanan 2-3 23, Prince 0 0-0 0, Robinson 7 1-3 15, Swaby 3 0-2 7, Tarello 2 2-2 8, Miller 2 2-2 7, Taylor 0 1-2 1, Lester 0 0-0 0, Sanders 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 12-19 76.
KIRKWOOD (92): Sims 4 0-0 8, Pickens 5 0-0 12, Kasperbauer 4 3-4 13, Wilson 8 7-10 23, Appel 6 0-1 14, Thedford 1 0-0 2, Sartorius 5 3-4 17, Stephenson 1 1-1 3, Gosnell 0 0-0 0. Totals 34 14-20 92.
Halftime - Kirkwood 35, DMACC 34. 3-point goals - DMACC 10 (Buchanan 5, Tarello 2, Davidson 1, Swaby 1, Miller 1), Kirkwood 10 (Sartorius 4, Pickens 2, Kasperbauer 2, Appel 2).