DES MOINES — The postgame meeting took longer than usual Tuesday afternoon. It had a bunch of tears.
But there was no talk of regret, no looking back at what might have been. That excruciating fourth quarter wasn’t discussed, nor was the resulting 54-48 loss to Ballard in a Class 3A state basketball tournament quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena.
Instead this was a time for positive reflection, of everything that was accomplished, especially by a senior class you could call the Great Eight. It was a thank you to them and everyone else for a season well done.
“That’s going to be the most difficult thing for me,” said Coach Mike Halac. “Not being with these guys every day.”
“It was about the memories we built,” said CPU’s Kole Tupa. “Just kind of reflecting on the year. We made it here, and that’s something we haven’t done in a long time. That was the goal at the beginning of the year ... As a coaching staff, as players, as a community, that was something we wanted. To fulfill it was unbelievable.”
They just hoped their second trip to state, the school’s first in 24 years, would have lasted longer. Ballard (19-6) scored the final eight points to take away a game CPU led by seven going to the fourth quarter.
This was reminiscent of Ballard’s district final against Algona, in which it was down in the fourth quarter but rallied and won in overtime.
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“We made it happen,” said Ballard Coach Jeff Schertz. “We didn’t just sit around and hope it would happen.”
“Throughout the game, I thought we played pretty well defensively,” said Center Point-Urbana’s Caleb Andrews. “We played to our game plan. Give them credit, they are a great team, and their shots started to fall. We got a hand up, but sometimes when a guy is shooting it well, there’s not a whole lot you can do.”
A corner 3 by Andrews, who scored 16 points, gave CPU a 48-46 lead with 5:07 left, but the the Stormin’ Pointers wouldn’t score again. They went 2 of 14 from the field in the final quarter to Ballard’s 8 of 11.
A crazy sequence in the final minute summed things up perfectly. Down six, CPU got multiple offensive rebounds, recovered multiple loose balls but missed seven total shots that took 33 crucial seconds off the clock in a totally empty possession.
“You’ve got to give credit to them,” Tupa said. “They got hot there, got some looks they wanted, executed well down the stretch. We just fell short. That one possession late, that ball was bouncing around for about 30 seconds. We were trying to get two hands on it and put it in the hole, but we just couldn’t.”
Tupa had 19 points and Andrews 16 for Center Point-Urbana. Connor Drew led Ballard with 13 points, though that was five-plus under his average because of foul trouble.
Six different Bombers had points in the fourth quarter.
Ballard 54, Center Point-Urbana 48
AT DES MOINES
BALLARD (54): Mason Murphy 2-3 1-1 6, Kade Reinertson 5-8 0-0 13, Ashton Hermann 4-9 2-3 11, Connor Drew 6-12 1-1 13, Kale Krogh 3-4 0-0 6, Nic Edwards 0-2 0-0 0, Sam Peterson 0-3 0-0 0, Jacob Ihle 2-3 0-0 5. Totals 22-44 4-5 54.
CENTER POINT-URBANA (48): Kole Tupa 9-16 1-2 19, Caleb Andrews 6-14 0-0 16, Keegan Koppedryer 3-7 0-2 6, Alex Wade 0-4 1-2 1, Reece Miller 1-3 0-0 2, Grant Bryant 0-0 0-0 0, Ethan Sells 1-5 0-0 2, Trey Johannes 1-6 0-0 2. Totals 21-55 2-6 48.
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Halftime — Center Point-Urbana 23, Huxley Ballard 17. 3-point goals — Huxley Ballard 6-14 (Murphy 1-1, Reinertson 3-4, Hermann 1-4, Drew 0-2, Edwards 0-2, Ihle 1-1), Center Point-Urbana 4-17 (Tupa 0-2, Andrews 4-5, Koppedryer 0-3, Wade 0-2, Miller 0-1, Sells 0-2, Johannes 0-2). Rebounds — Huxley Ballard 28 (Krogh 7), Center Point-Urbana 31 (Tupa 12). Total fouls — Huxley Ballard 11, Center Point-Urbana 12. Fouled out — None. Assists — Huxley Ballard 14 (Murphy 6), Center Point-Urbana 11 (Wade 5). Turnovers — Huxley Ballard 12, Center Point-Urbana 10.
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