DES MOINES — All in all, North Tama played infinitely better Thursday afternoon than it did in its first state basketball tournament game Monday. More the real Redhawks, you might say.
Problem was the opponent played infinitely better, too. It’s back to the Class 1A state championship game for Boyden-Hull after a 77-52 semifinal win at Wells Fargo Arena.
A 45-point second half by the Comets was way too much for tournament rookie North Tama to handle. B-H plays Storm Lake St. Mary’s for the 1A title, assuring Northwest Iowa its 16th 1A champ since 1991.
“We knew we had to take it to them,” said North Tama Coach Brandon Clubb. “We didn’t do that like we needed to in the second half.”
North Tama (26-2) went toe to toe, shot for shot with Boyden-Hull (24-3) in an entertaining opening half that ended with a 32-31 B-H lead. The Redhawks shot 56 percent from the field, bearing no resemblance to the basketball team that offensively bumbled its way through a 15-point first half and two-point win in the quarterfinals against Ankeny Christian.
“Monday wasn’t us,” said North Tama guard Jacob Wrage, who had a team-high 15 points. “We didn’t come out right. We came out with a lot more intensity in the first half today, and I think that showed.”
Boyden-Hull ratcheted up the intensity in the second half, going on a 9-0 run late in the third quarter to establish a 51-37 edge you knew North Tama wouldn’t be able to come back from. The lead grew from there, with Boyden-Hull connecting on 12 of 18 second-half shots and finishing at 60 percent makes in the game.
Four of the Comets’ starters scored in double figures, with the exception (J.C. Koerselman) ending with nine. Brandt Van Roekel starred with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
It’s a ballclub that moves the ball so well and can do damage from the interior and perimeter. North Tama couldn’t respond to the offensive onslaught, though few teams could have.
“They didn’t have a weak guy on that team,” said forward Mitchell Boerm, who finished with 12 points. “I got caught a couple times trying to help defensively, like I’ve done all season. Guys hit open shots, so you can’t help out as much as you want to. They’re a great team.”
North Tama heads to the 1A consolation game this morning at 10 against No. 1-ranked Danville, a semifinal loser to Storm Lake St. Mary’s.
“We didn’t quite put four quarters together,” Clubb said. “But that was a lot more indicative of the type of team we are.”
Here is the game boxscore and official play by play: