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Iowa high school boys basketball state tournament: Assumption rolls past Ballard in 3A quarterfinal

Decorah, MOC-Floyd Valley and Waverly-Shell Rock were victorious
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DES MOINES, IOWA – Fourth-seeded Davenport Assumption may not have a shiny record but showed it may be a force to be reckon with in the Class 3A boys state tournament.

The Knights overcame an early double-digit deficit and rolled to an 84-73 triumph over five-seed Ballard (Huxley) Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena. They play in a mostly Class 4A Mississippi Athletic Conference where they finished fifth but showed that the level of competition, they face has them tournament ready.

Davenport Assumption's Damyen Jackson passes to a teammate against Ballard during a Class 3A state tournament quarterfinal game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Tuesday. (Photo by Ryan Timmerman)

Davenport Assumption's Damyen Jackson passes to a teammate against Ballard during a Class 3A state tournament quarterfinal game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Tuesday. (Photo by Ryan Timmerman)

“We see the athletes (all season) like we’ve got all the floor every game,” said Assumption coach Joe Ewen. “So, seeing that game in and game out, it just really prepares our guys for these tough games here in Des Moines and even in our sub state.” 

Assumption was led by Damyen Jackson and Navon Shabazz with 21 points apiece, while Kayvion Hodges had a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Braylon Thomsen rounded out the scoring with 13. The three combined to shoot 62.8 percent from the field.

Jackson Brown also had 21 for the Bombers to share game-high scoring honors. Miles Mudd contributed with 17, followed by Nolan Cogdil with 15 and Jude Gibson with 11 points.

Ballard bombed in three 3-pointers – two by Jackson Brown and one by Nolan Cogdill – during a 14-point outburst to go up 17-5 midway through the first quarter, but Assumption finished the quarter strong with seven straight points and a 3-pointer by Damyen Jackson to close within 21-18 at the quarter break.

The Knights caught Ballard and took a 26-24 lead on a baseline driving layup by Shabazz at the 5:15 mark and led 40-31 at halftime.

Assumption, ranked 21 in SB Live’s all-class top 25 and ninth by the IHSAA in Class 3A, got three trifectas from Shabazz to take a 15-point lead and a 63-50 advantage into the fourth quarter.

The Knights coasted home, leading by as many as 16 when Navon completed an and-one three-point play with 3:22 left. The Bombers were able to get within single digits at 82-73 in the final 30 seconds.

“We talked to our guys about the highs and lows many games, and Ballard came out hot and shot it well,” Ewen said. “We knew that could happen so our guys just kind of stayed mentally tough, and they kind of withered that (deficit) away, and then our transition kind of got us going there in the second quarter, and then let us seize control.”

Ballard held a big advantage from beyond the arc, making 13 of 27 – led by Brown with five and Cogdill with three.

“They’re an excellent team,” said Ballard coach Jeff Schertz. “We're one of the better shooting teams in 3A, and we knocked down some shots, but Assumption wasn't going to go away.

“They are just monsters and transition kind of gave us some trouble, and that's when it was difficult for them to score against us in the half court. We kept mounting an effort to cut it to single digits, but we couldn't quite do it.”

Ballard, which upset the IHSAA’s fourth-ranked Clear Lake in the substate round, finished the season with 16-9 record and return four starters, including its two leading scorers in Gibson (17.3 ppg) and Brown (14.2).

The Knights (17-8) move on to play Decorah at 2 p.m. Thursday.

“You know they're the number one team in the state for a reason,” Ewen said. “They proved it in that first game. They’ve got some great players and great coaching. It’s going to be a tough one.”

Vikings blow out Williamsburg

Top-seeded Decorah went on an enormous run to make quick work as a one seed should do against 8-seeded Williamsburg 66-42 in the 3A opener.

The Vikings – ranked No. 1 in the IHSAA’s final poll and 10th in SB Live’s all-class top 25, were led by Ben Bockman with 29 points – on 11-of-17 shooting – and seven rebounds. Cael LaFrentz, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, mostly coming with nice post moves and putbacks of misses. LaFrentz is the son of former Kansas Jayhawk and NBA journeyman Raef LaFrentz.

After a nip-and-tuck first quarter that saw two ties and four lead changes, Williamsburg led 14-12 at the break on a layup by Derek Weisskopf 6 seconds before the half ended, but a blowout pursued.

The Vikings then went on a massive 32-1 run, turning the game into a rout. They held the Raiders without a basket the entire second quarter and most of the third – 14 minutes, 18 seconds in total.

Williamsburg just couldn’t buy a basket, missing all 12 field goal attempts in the second quarter to trail 24-15 at halftime and then clanged their first 11 shots of the third quarter.

Decorah opened up an insurmountable 44-15 cushion before Grant Hocker finally stopped the bleeding with a 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:48 showing on the third quarter clock for the Raiders. In total, the Raiders missed 23 consecutive field goal attempts.

The Vikings also dominated the boards with a 52-30 advantage -- 21-10 on the offensive glass. After LaFrentz effort, Noah Milburn came off the bench to pull down 11.

Weisskopf, an Iowa Hawkeye football recruit, led the Raiders with 18 points, and Hocker just missed double figures with nine.

Decorah shot 40 percent (26 of 55) from the field and held the Raiders to just 29.4 (15 of 51).

The Raiders finish the season 16-9, while the Vikings move on to play MOC-Floyd Valley 2 p.m. Thursday.

MOC-FV sends defending champions home

Third-seeded MOC Floyd Valley eliminated the defending state champions 67-50 in the first quarterfinal game on the bottom half of the bracket.

Jesse Van Kalsbeek poured in 37 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Dutchmen. He knocked down three 3-pointers and made a living at the free-throw line, making 10. Carter Van Gelder also scored in double digits with 11 points, making all four of his field goals.

The Dutchmen, ranked 20th in SB Live’s all-class top 25 and seventh in 3A by the IHSAA, led almost the entire game -- with the exception of a 2-2 tie – and held a 27-15 cushion at the quarter break.

They increased the lead to 15 on a Carter Van Gelder 3-pointer 3 seconds into the second quarter and led 36-29 at halftime.

The Bluejays cut it to five on three separate occasions in the third quarter, but the Dutchmen were able to get it back to double digits at 51-39 on a Jesse Van Kalsbeek 3-pointer with 16 seconds left.

B-F could only get within 59-50 on a three-point play by Hudson McConnell with 2:42 in the fourth quarter.

The Dutchmen converted 55.8 percent of its shots on 24 of 43 shooting.

Hudson McConnell led the Bluejays with 18 points and seven rebounds, Cole Miller, an all-tournament team selection last season as a sophomore, had 17 points and four assists, and Tanner Berggren added 11. Nick Pfantz shared team-high rebounding honors with seven.

The Bluejays end the season with a 15-10 record, while MOC-FV moves into the semifinals with a 22-3 mark.

Go-Hawks survive over Pella

In a topsy-turvy 3A postseason, second-seed Waverly-Shell Rock survived an upset with a 65-64 in overtime win over seven-seed Pella in the final game of the night.

The first two-plus minutes of overtime had five lead changes, Pella tied it when Jack McGuire made one of two free throws with 41 seconds left.

Moments later Go-Hawk Noah Frazell pump faked, drew the defender in the air and was fouled with 1.8 seconds left. A 93.5 percent free throw shooter, Frazell missed the first but calmly sank the second to put the Go-Hawks up one point.

Luke Hardman, the quarterback on the football team, then threw a three-quarter court pass to Jack McGuire, who took a dribble and fired the potential game-winner from the 3-point land on the right wing, but the shot was shot was just off the mark, and the Go-Hawks survived.

W-SR had four players score in double figures – led by Cole Marsh with a double-double 17-point, 14-rebound performance. Benny Ramker scored 15, followed by Luke Frazell with 14 and Noah Frazell with 12.

Pella was led by Jack McGuire with 17 points, Brayden Traetow with 12 and Luke Hardman with 12. Cameron Rowe just missed double digits with nine.

It was a much tighter game that the previous meeting Feb. 12 when the Go-Hawks won 86-72

It was a sea-saw affair early, but Pella scored seven straight points to lead 18-11 after the first quarter.

The Go-Hawks scored eight of the next nine points to regain the lead and later held a four-point lead before Rowe sank a 3-pointer and McGuire made a free throw to tie it 31-all at halftime.

The third quarter was nip and tuck with W-SR holding a four-point lead when Harrison Mullens banked in a runner from about five feet out in the lane to cut the gap to 48-46 at the buzzer.

The biggest lead was just three points in a low-scoring fourth quarter, and Pella clung to a two-point lead, but Jude Landers, scoreless on the night, two sank free throws with 17.3 seconds left to send the game into overtime tied at 57-all.

The Go-Hawks (21-4) ranked 15th in SB Live’s all-class top 25, advance Thursday’s semifinals where they’ll play MOC-Floyd Valley at 3:45 Thursday, while Pella’s season ends with a 15-10 record.

--Chris Short | @SBLiveIA