MONROE — PCM senior Jackson Thomas remembers watching Logan Gilman and that senior class get recognized a few seasons back when he was playing his first varsity season as a sophomore.
On Feb. 2, Thomas and his class reached that point of their careers.
The Mustangs recognized their current crop of seniors before the game, and then Thomas went to work scoring a game-high 22 points in a 70-45 win over Greene County.
PCM improved to 15-5 on the season after a fast start. The Mustangs led 19-9 after one quarter and outscored the Rams 34-21 in the second half.
“It’s crazy. I remember watching Logan Gilman and that group when I was a sophomore. It’s hard to believe this is almost over,” Thomas said. “I didn’t have too many emotions before the game. Once the first shot went up and in, it made it easier.”
PCM capped its Heart of Iowa Conference record at 11-3 after the win. The Mustangs finished second behind undefeated and Class 2A No. 5 South Hamilton.
Wade Adcock scored 15 points to lead the Rams, who fell to 11-8 overall and 8-6 in the HOIC. Greene County, Nevada and Gilbert finished in a three-way tie for third in the conference.
“I like where we are, but we had bad turnovers tonight that we can’t have in close games,” PCM coach Fred Lorensen said. “We didn’t run our stuff a few times tonight. We have to do a better job with that.”
After Thomas put the Mustangs up with buckets on his first two shots, junior Andrew Van Ryswyk’s hook shot put the home team ahead 9-3. Van Ryswyk ended the first quarter with a three-point play.
Van Ryswyk scored 11 of his 18 points in the first quarter. The junior post player had a double-double by halftime and finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds in the win.
“Andrew is a warrior. Their big kid (Wade Adcock) is pretty good. He’s one of the best bigs in the conference and Andrew just went toe to toe with him,” Lorensen said. “(Van Ryswyk) was all over the place in the first half. He’s a tough matchup.”
Adcock was the Rams’ leading scorer Friday night, but he was ejected early in the fourth quarter for what the officials called a “live ball intentional flagrant foul to the head.”
Greene County played with PCM in the second quarter, but the Mustangs still led 36-24 at the break.
Thomas scored 10 of PCM’s 17 second-quarter points. Adcock cut the Rams’ deficit to seven, but Thomas answered with a jumper and a 3-pointer to push it back to double digits by halftime.
“He’s really tough to guard. He’s coming around at the right time. He’s peaking at the right time,” Lorensen said of Thomas. “He’s a really good offensive player for us and is so much better defensively this year, too. We need that from him come playoff time.”
Thomas was one of five seniors recognized before the game, joined by Elijah Sperfslage, Noah Lanphier, Dayton Boell and Colton Warrick.
Sperfslage scored six points, grabbed three rebounds, dished out three assists and collected a pair of steals. Lanphier scored four points and grabbed five rebounds. Thomas also had three assists and two steals.
Boell scored seven of his eight points in PCM’s 22-point fourth quarter and grabbed four boards, and Warrick made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line in the final minutes.
“This is a really good group of kids,” Lorensen said. “Happy to see Dayton have a big fourth quarter, and I was happy to see Colton put one of those free throws in. There’s not a better kid than Colton. He leads by example. All of our seniors are a great group of kids to be around. We’ll miss that group for sure.”
The Mustangs scored the first six points of the third quarter and the first eight points of the final frame.
Thomas’ three-point play to cap the 8-0 run that started the fourth put the Mustangs up by 24. Boell’s layup late in the game capped his scoring and gave PCM its largest lead of the game at 26.
“My teammates did a good job looking for me. We trust each other to be able to make shots. My shots just happen to go in tonight,” Thomas said. “This one gives us some momentum. This is a good team we just beat. It feels good.”
Junior Reed Worth scored six points, delivered six assists and pulled down four rebounds for PCM, which has won three of its last four games.
The Mustangs play one final regular season game against South Hardin at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 in Eldora.
PCM 73, North Polk 43
MONROE — PCM struggled to pull away from North Polk at home during the first half of a Heart of Iowa Conference game on Jan. 30.
Sperfslage was saddled with three fouls and Van Ryswyk had a pair of fouls.
North Polk trailed by only one after a quarter and went into halftime down just four, but PCM pulled away with a 10-0 finish to the third quarter and outscored the Comets 19-4 in the fourth to win 73-43.
The Mustangs used a similar second half earlier in the season to beat North Polk 75-42 in Alleman. They had a 37-19 in final two quarters of that one. They completed the season sweep at home.
“It makes a big difference when you can make baskets,” Lorensen said. “We didn’t make a lot of baskets in our last two games. We had been so much better than that before that so it was good to see a lot of guys make baskets tonight.”
The Mustangs made half of their baskets against North Polk. They were 31-of-62 from the floor and 7-of-16 from long range.
Three players finished in double-figures and two others scored at least six points in the win. Van Ryswyk recovered from early foul trouble to lead the Mustangs with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Eight of those boards came in the second half, and he scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Van Ryswyk said seeing the ball go into the basket helped the Mustangs during the final run in the third quarter that put PCM up 54-39 after 24 minutes.
“We were struggling at the beginning of the game,” Van Ryswyk said. “We needed some shots to fall and get our confidence back up.”
Worth hit all three of his 3-pointers in the third quarter and scored 11 of his 17 points in the frame. Thomas added 12 points, five rebounds and three assists in the win.
The Mustangs struggled to get their footing early. PCM didn’t take a lead in the game until Sperfslage banked in a shot off the glass to make it 15-14. A Worth jumper gave the home team a 17-16 lead after eight minutes.
Lorensen used two reserves — junior Isaac Telfer and sophomore Derek Brown — at the end of the first quarter and then put in three more reserves to start the second period.
He rode the reserves for the first six minutes of the frame, and that group held North Polk to just two points and led 25-18 after a 3-pointer by sophomore Jason Stafford. PCM led 27-23 at halftime.
“They did a nice job. They were defending well and holding serve,” Lorensen said of the bench. “It worked out pretty well.”
Van Ryswyk added, “They help us out a lot. They are just as good as us. They play hard and play good defense. They did a good job of holding down the lead for us tonight.”
The Mustangs couldn’t pull away from the Comets until the end of the third quarter. A Worth trey put PCM up nine early, but back-to-back buckets, including a dunk, by junior Caleb Lomica cut it back to five. Lomica led the Comets (4-14 overall, 3-10 in the HOIC) with 13 points.
It stayed at five following a 3-pointer by Clark Hood.
Then PCM scored 14 straight points. Thomas started the run with a three-point play and then ended the third quarter with a triple.
Van Ryswyk went to work in the fourth, finishing the 14-0 run with a bucket inside and a putback. Four of his 10 rebounds came at the offensive end of the floor.
After North Polk halted the 14-0 spurt, Thomas nailed a jumper and then Van Ryswyk scored four inside the lane and buried a 3-pointer to put his team up 67-41.
The win over the Comets is the 10th win over a Class 3A program this season for the Mustangs.
Sperfslage tallied seven points and four assists, Brown had six points, five rebounds and three assists and Telfer collected three points, three rebounds and three assists.