116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARSHALLTOWN — Caleb Schlaak described his thoughts postgame as being just a blur. He wasn't the only one feeling that way.
Johnston survived a Class 4A boys' basketball substate final here Tuesday night against Cedar Rapids Kennedy. Survived, yeah, that's the appropriate word.
There were just so many little plays that were or weren't made in this 65-63 overtime thriller that will looked back upon as key. If only this had happened, if only they had done that.
'It's just hard to describe,' said a sullen Schlaak, Kennedy's best player, when asked what was going through his mind.
'There are no regrets with this team,' Kennedy Coach Jon McKowen said.
The Cougars (15-8) certainly left everything they had on the floor, as the cliche goes. They had an eight-point first-half lead, rallied from a six-point second-half deficit.
Sophomore guard Kenzie Reed forced overtime with a clutch, clutch, clutch 3-pointer with 10 seconds to go. It appeared Johnston (10-4) would have a chance to win it literally at the end of regulation when a foul was called on Schlaak as he blocked an offensive putback attempt by the Dragons.
That would have meant two foul shots. But after the officials huddled, Schlaak's foul was ruled to have come after the buzzer.
A reprieve for Kennedy, albeit briefly. Carter Borwick banked in a 3-pointer from the wing to begin OT, and Johnston never trailed after that.
'Credit to Kennedy. Coach McKowen does an unbelieveable job with them,' said Johnston Coach Brian Frick. 'The Cougars play so hard, they're really well coached. They made some really huge shots the first half and throughout the game and forced us to turn the basketball over. We had to earn it. I am proud of our guys for sticking with it and finding a way to win.'
Johnston built a seven-point lead late in overtime, only to have Kennedy rally again. Two missed foul shots by Johnston with 27.7 seconds left gave the Cougars the ball in a 65-63 game.
Kennedy took a timeout with 16.6 to go but could not get a good shot. A double-teamed Reed finally had to heave a highly contested 3-point attempt from out top that fell well short at the horn.
'We ran some action, tried to get Kenzie some space,' McKowen said. 'Obviously he hit a big shot at the end of regulation there. So we didn't care if he got downhill or if they went under, he was going to take a shot there. They defended that last play really well. They defended the 3-point line well, we couldn't get by them. Just kind of one of those things that happen. We didn't get a great look at it.'
Schlaak led Kennedy with 18 points, fouling out in the final minute of OT. Reed added 15 and Colby Dolphin 13.
Reid Grant led Johnston with 20 points, with center Max Roquet contributing 16 points and 14 rebounds. Kennedy was repeatedly hurt in the game by the Dragons' work on the offensive glass.
By the way, Grant hit a shot about 5 feet inside of the half-court line to end the first half and give Johnston a one-point lead. Goes back to that thing about plays being made that ended up making a difference.
'This is one of the best teams I've probably ever played on,' Schlaak said. 'They're resilient, they're going to fight every single game. We fought every game this year. This game showed it, too. They got us in the fourth quarter, we came back and hit the last-second 3. We battled, that's for sure.'
'We became a really good basketball team,' said McKowen, of a club that was 4-6 at one point. 'We put up a really good fight tonight, had some adversity. You know, that's a good team. That's a really good team ... Having a chance to win it at the end, it was kind of the epitome of the season. We're not going to go away. We're going to stay there, going to stay there.'
CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY (63): Cole Hrubes 0-5 0-2 0, Caleb Schlaak 7-13 2-2 18, Colby Dolphin 5-9 0-0 13, Kenzie Reed 2-8 9-10 15, Max White 1-1 0-1 3, Avante Ballinger 3-5 0-2 9, Jack Schissel 0-2 0-0 0, Jackson Bowman 2-5 0-0 5. Totals 20-48 11-18 63.
JOHNSTON (65): Max Roquet 8-9 0-1 16, Steven Kramer 3-7 1-3 7, Reid Grant 6-14 6-9 20, Jacob Runyan 0-3 0-0 0, Trey Lewis 3-12 4-6 12, Mason Ryan 0-2 0-0 0, Carter Borwick 3-5 2-4 10. TOtals 23-53 13-23 65.
Halftime — Johnston 27, Kennedy 26. End of Regulation — 54-54. 3-point goals — C.R. Kennedy 12-22 (Hrubes 0-3, Schlaak 2-3, Dolphin 3-4, Reed 2-5, White 1-1, Ballinger 3-5, Bowman 1-1), Johnston 6-24 (Kramer 0-1, Grant 2-8, Runyan 0-1, Lewis 2-9, Ryan 0-1, Borwick 2-4). Rebounds — Kennedy 29 (Schlaak 6), Johnston 34 (Roquet 14). Total fouls — Kennedy 20, Johnston 18. Fouled out — Schlaak. Turnovers — Kennedy 9, Johnston 10.
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