STORY CITY — As the old saying goes, “third time is a charm.” Well, while it may be true that last night’s game was a charm to watch, it did not work out so well for the Collins-Maxwell-Baxter Raiders on Monday.
In their third matchup against the Roland-Story Norsemen this season, the Raiders came within a few centimeters of pulling off the upset in the opening round of the 2A tournament. Despite losing by double figures in both previous matchups this season, the Raiders took the Norsemen to overtime, but lost 64-62.
The game opened with R-S senior Ryan Skaar torching the Raiders from all over the court. He drained shot after shot, swishing open 3-pointers with ease over the 1-3-1 zone presented by CMB. After a reverse layup and another 3-pointer, the Norsemen had their biggest lead of the game at 30-18 with two minutes to go before halftime.
Raider coach Gary Plunkett called a timeout, and his team came out in a new man-to-man defensive set to try to counteract Skaar’s ridiculous outside shooting.
“We had to keep Skaar from shooting. The boys just came out and they didn’t quit. In years past we would have quit, at mid-season we would have quit, but they didn’t and I’m very proud of our boys for that,” Plunkett said. “We took that timeout and kind of refocused and regrouped. We didn’t want that run to take care of us.”
They were able to force misses and CMB sophomore Bryce Kemp did some nice work in the post to get the Raiders right back in it. A layup just five seconds before the halftime buzzer sounded and made the score 32-25.
Skaar came out in the second half and drained two more 3-pointers on the Raiders. Kemp kept them in it on the other end with post scores and pull-up jumpers. Then with the Norsemen leading 42-33, the Raiders turned the ball over. Getting back on defense and setting himself under the basket, junior Zach Samson took a big charge that completely changed the energy for CMB. Plunkett talked about Samson’s effort after the game.
“Samson was phenomenal,” Plunkett said. “He had a tough game against them last Tuesday. He said he was going to make up for it tonight, and he definitely did that.”
A 3-pointer by sophomore Tommy Galloway and a last second runner by Kemp capped off a 9-0 run for the Raiders, who tied the game at 42 heading to the fourth.
Immediately coming out of the break, the Raiders got a stop and fed senior Zach Hartgers on the wing for a big three to give them a 45-42 lead. They held that lead until R-S junior Zach Hovick finished an offensive rebound putback, which put the Norsemen back up by one. Back-to-back buckets from Samson put the Raiders ahead 52-50 with 2:25 left.
Skaar then worked his way back into the mix, hitting three of his four free throw attempts and putting the Norsemen back up 53-52 with a minute remaining. Samson was fed the ball on the other end. He missed his first, got the rebound, missed his second, got the rebound yet again and finally earned the foul. He was able to hit one of two at the line, tying the game at 53. The Norsemen had the last shot, but Kemp swatted it away to force overtime.
The Norsemen came out with two straight buckets in the overtime period, giving them a 57-53 lead. After trading buckets, CMB sophomore Seth Balke hit a big 3-pointer to bring the game to 59-58. Fouls the rest of the way put the game at 64-62 with 4.1 seconds remaining and the Raiders with one last shot.
The inbound to Samson was near the free throw line. He dribbled up to half court and fired a prayer that hit the backboard and just edged off the front of the rim, teasing everyone who watched with bated breath.
“For a three second shot, we had the best guy throwing the ball up,” Plunkett said. “It couldn’t have gotten much closer.”
So, the final in overtime stood 64-62 with Roland-Story advancing to play Norh Polk on Thursday.
Roland-Story 64, CMB 62 (OT)
C — 8 17 17 11 9 — 62
R —13 19 10 11 11 — 64
R — Skaar 33, Shorkey 12, Johnson 10, Miller 3, Ahrens 2, Urbanek 2