116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — He held up seven fingers as he left the Wells Fargo Arena floor Monday afternoon.
It was Trey Shearer reminding everyone what his Montezuma boys' basketball team was seeded coming into this state tournament. And how much it torked off him and his teammates.
'We were a little disrespected with the 7-seed,' Shearer said, following the Braves' 64-61 overtime win over Lake Mills in a beauty of a Class 1A quarterfinal. 'We all expected a little something higher. But at this point, one through eight, everyone is good and everyone can be beat. You saw that last year, you see that every year. It was business as usual up here, but with a little extra motivation.'
This is the third year in a row Montezuma (23-2) is playing in the state tourney semifinals. The opponent is Grand View Christian (21-1) in a rematch of the 2018 semis.
That's why these guys were so upset. Yeah, they lost twice in the regular season, but that was early and without forward Eddie Burgess, one of this team's big three.
Shearer is another, as is guard Cole Watts. They've been so integral in this three-year run of greatness.
Montezuma placed fourth here two years ago and third last year. There are no consolation games this year, so it's win Wednesday or go home.
'Got to get it done this time,' Burgess said. 'Three in a row doesn't happen very often. We're really going to work to get it done. Obviously we're going to go watch that (other quarterfinal) game right now. Afterwards, initiate a game plan and show up on Wednesday and get it done.'
These teams went back and forth the entire game, Montezuma relying on its quickness and Lake Mills its size. Montezuma led by six after the first quarter, it was tied at 40 at halftime, and the Braves led by two going to the fourth.
It was 58-all at regulation, with Lake Mills missing a winning attempt at the buzzer. Burgess scored to begin overtime and again on Monte's second OT possession for a 62-59 lead.
A pair of Watts free throws made it 64-59 with 48.5 seconds left, Lake Mills scored to make it a one-possession game, then Shearer missed a one-and-one free throw with 29.8 to go.
Lake Mills (25-1) called timeout with 12 seconds left, but Montezuma did a great job defending the arc, and Dashawn Linnen's heavily contested desperation shot air-balled. Linnen came in averaging a team-high 19.1 points but was held to just one.
'Just came up a little bit short today,' Lake Mills Coach Kyle Menke said. 'I don't know, I could be wrong about this, but this could be the strongest 1A field that's ever been down here. We knew that coming in, knew this was going to be a great game. We just couldn't quite get it done.'
Shearer led everyone in scoring with 25 points. He's headed to play for former University of Iowa star guard Jeff Horner at Division II Truman State.
Watts added 18 points and Burgess 14. Ryan Huston led Lake Mills with 19 points, including five 3-pointers, in what had to be a career game.
He came in averaging just 3.2 points per game. Caleb Bacon (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Wyatt Helming (16 and 12) both had double-doubles for the Bulldogs, who lost in the quarterfinals a second straight year.
They were the second seed, Montezuma the seven. You already knew that last part.
'First, I think that speaks to the strength of this field,' said Montezuma Coach Derrick Dengler. 'There are just so many good teams in Class 1A this year. But, definitely, having a lot back from last year, making the state tournament the last two years, I think the guys take a lot of pride in how they play. So, yeah, maybe a little bit of motivation there. For sure.'
MONTEZUMA (64): Cam Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Masin Shearer 3-8 0-0 7, Cole Watts 6-12 4-5 18, Trey Shearer 9-16 2-3 25, Eddie Burgess 7-11 0-0 14, Owen Cook 0-0 0-0 0, Gavin Strong 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-48 6-8 64.
LAKE MILLS (61): Dashawn Linnen 0-6 1-2 1, Bennett Berger 2-4 0-0 5, Ryan Huston 7-9 0-0 19, Wyatt Helming 8-17 0-0 16, Caleb Bacon 7-13 3-3 17, A.J. Ramaker 0-0 0-0 0, Kadin Abele 0-0 0-0 0, Denton Kingland 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 25-53 4-5 61.
Halftime — Montezuma 40, Lake Mills 40. End of Regulation — 58-58. 3-point goals — Montezuma 8-19 (M. Shearer 1-4, Watts 2-7, T. Shearer 5-8), Lake Mills 7-19 (Linnen 0-3, Berger 1-1, Huston 5-7, Helming 0-4, Abele 0-1, Kingland 1-3). Rebounds — Montezuma 22 (Burgess 9), Lake Mills 30 (Helming 12). Total fouls — Montezuma 9, Lake Mills 12. Fouled out — None. Assists — Montezuma 11 (M. Shearer 4), Lake Mills 14 (Berger 6). Turnovers — Montezuma 7, Lake Mills 9.
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