Garner-Hayfield-Ventura senior Nick Joynt stands in the hall after a 60-55 win over Osage on Feb. 15 when sophomore Landon Dalbeck puts his hand on Joynt’s shoulder.
“Nick played great tonight, you know, he did what he was supposed to do,” Dalbeck said. “Got in the paint, got the hard beating that he needed to.”
All smiles, Joynt shrugs Dalbeck off. It’s true, Joynt went 8 for 9 from the field and added one from the line for 18 points. He had a good game, and he’s not afraid to admit it.
“My little floaters right outside the block, I don’t usually make those, but tonight I was enjoying it,” Joynt said.
Joynt was going head-to-head with senior Drew Olson from Osage, which he claimed had been a battle since sophomore year at substate.
“I was just a little twig running around and Drew was hitting 3s on me, now it’s kind of turned the tables,” Joynt said.
Joynt’s the third-leading scorer on this year’s team, averaging 13.4 points per game with 309 on the season so far. He’s the classic paint-driver, charging down the lane no matter who stands in his way.
That’s the aggression that gets the points, but also can be hard on the body.
“A lot of people don’t know about it, but he’s been playing with two horribly torn up ankles,” Albertson said. “He’s lost his speed, so if you look at him on film last year, he looked like a bunny rabbit compared to this year. He’s so much more explosive. But he’s tough.”
Joynt’s injuries date back to this summer at football camp, where a bad hit made him twist his ankle wrong in the turf. He rolled the other in the basketball game against North Union in January.
But Joynt has a routine. He goes to aqua therapy in Belmond once a week, then does his pregame stretch at Athletico. He tapes his ankles, then hides them under tall, white socks.
By the way he storms the court, no one can tell.
In the 49-29 victory over Forest City on Feb. 20, Joynt was more of a role-player than a scorer, packing six points in the final quarter while adding four steals on defense.
Albertson says Joynt provides a level of comfort to the floor. His teammates are confident in his consistency to make plays when they are needed.
Joynt’s confidence is arguably backed by a team of talent around him, but humility is something showed through mutual respect of his opponents. He never underestimates the competition, even when he knows what his team is capable of.
“We watched Lake Mills against Forest City and they fought hard. And if that low of a team is going to fight a No. 1 seed that hard, we definitely have to fight that hard,” Joynt said. “Just giving props and coming to practice and taking away Sam Snyder from that game. We took that away from Lake Mills to get that win.”
Joynt’s got the maturity of a varsity veteran: knowing your team is good, while acknowledging what needs to be done. And he’s not fighting through ankle injuries to settle for anything less than a trip to Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Dalbeck walks up with Joynt after the win over the Indians. The sophomore smiles as he stands by his teammate, jokingly.
"What are you doing?" Joynt said, laughing as he gives him a slight push.
Dalbeck sports his No. 10 football jacket for next year. That’s Joynt’s current number on the basketball team, so Dalbeck chose 11, and he'll keep it for at least one more game.
People walk by and offer their congratulations and Joynt thanks them. It's the second time GHV has beaten Forest City this year, but it wasn't as close as the previous contests.
"Last year, we were in these big shoes and we had to play these rough games with Osage and everything," Joynt said. "Forest City got knocked out early by Waverly, so we really didn’t get into the neutral site with thousands of people around. Honestly, that was incredible."