MANCHESTER — Johnny Supple got done being interviewed and began to walk back toward his locker room. Then he suddenly stopped, turned and headed toward an adjacent drinking fountain.
“Man, I need some water,” the Cascade forward said.
You’d certainly think so, after playing virtually every minute of a 56-50 triple-overtime win Tuesday night over Dyersville Beckman in a classic Class 2A boys’ basketball district final at West Delaware High School. These neighborhood rivals have produced some unbelieveable theatrics over the years on the baseball diamond, but this just might be the best hoops game they’ve ever had.
“Insane,” Supple said. “It’s the most exciting game I’ve ever been a part of, by far.”
“You really can’t put it into words,” Cascade Coach Jacob Brindle said. “I looked up at (an assistant coach) and said ‘I don’t know how we won that game.’ That was a state tournament-level ballgame. They’re a top-five team, I think we’re a top seven or eight team. That game could have been played on a Thursday in Des Moines. As cliche as it sounds, it was two heavyweights going at it. We were fortunate.”
Eighth-ranked Cascade (21-2) avenged one of its regular-season losses and plays a substate final Saturday night at Independence against Dike-New Hartford (21-3). Seventh-ranked Beckman rallied from 18 points down midway through the third quarter but achingly saw its season conclude at 17-6.
“I told them after the ballgame that I’ve never been prouder of a team,” said Beckman Coach Jim Squiers. “We could have just thrown it in at halftime and said this game is over, played another 16 minutes and probably walked out with a 20-point loss. But I tell you we just battled and battled and battled.”
Cascade outscored Beckman in the second quarter, 18-2, to grab a 27-16 halftime lead. It eventually grew to a 36-18 edge, which appeared to make it game, set, match.
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But Beckman’s full-court pressure defense began bothering Cascade, and the Blazers inched their way back into it. An inside hoop from unheralded reserve Connor McDermott tied it at 42-42, with 1:28 left, and that’s the way things ended in regulation.
McDermott came in averaging 3.3 points per game but had 12 here.
Each team scored two points in the first overtime, with Beckman’s Mitch Gehling missing a 15-footer around and out to win it at the buzzer. In the second OT, Beckman held a 48-44 lead, but a late Supple 3-pointer tied it, sending it to another four minutes.
Brock Simon’s trey put Cascade out front early, 51-48, and Beckman could never quite catch back up again. Dilan Simon and Brock Simon hit four clutch free throws in the final seconds to finally make it a final.
Supple led everyone with 21 points. Gehling had 15 for Beckman.
“We played really good the first three quarters and kind of made it our game,” Brock Simon said. “Then they made their run. Coach kept telling us they were going to make a run, we just had to withstand it. We kind of let it get away from us a little bit, but our leaders kept telling us to calm down. We just kept grinding it out possession after possession and finally won it in the third overtime, I think.”
Yeah, that’s how long this thriller went.
“When the other team was shooting free throws (at one point), we were talking like ‘How many overtimes is this?’” Supple said. “I’m exhausted right now. I’m just glad we won this game.”
DYERSVILLE BECKMAN (50): Sam Stelken 0-5 0-0 0, Mitch Gehling 7-18 1-1 15, Riley LeGrand 3-12 3-3 9, Jackson Bennett 3-13 3-4 12, Brady Arens 1-4 0-3 2, Connor McDermott 5-7 0-0 12. Totals 19-61 7-14 56.
CASCADE (56): Gannon O’Brien 1-8 0-2 2, Haris Hoffman 4-6 0-0 9, Johnny Supple 8-12 2-4 21, Brock Simon 3-10 4-8 11, Dilan Simon 0-0 4-4 4, Derek Koppes 3-6 0-0 9. Totals 19-42 10-17 56.
Halftime — Cascade 27, Beckman 16. End of Regulation — 42-42. End of First Overtime — 44-44. End of Second Overtime — 48-48. 3-point goals — Beckman 5-18 (Bennett 3-9, Gehling 0-1, LeGrand 0-4, McDermott 2-4), Cascade 8-18 (B. Simon 1-4, Supple 3-3, O’Brien 0-3, Hoffman 1-2, Koppes 3-6). Rebounds — Beckman 32 (Bennett 8), Cascade 33 (Hoffman 11). Total fouls — Beckman 14, Cascade 16. Fouled out — McDermott. Turnovers — Beckman 8, Cascade 11.
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