BAXTER — For the third time this season, Baxter’s boys’ basketball team allowed 50 points or less but still lost.
The Bolts shot 41 percent from the floor and made only 3-of-15 from 3-point range, and another cold shooting night plagued host Baxter during a 50-47 loss to North Tama in an Iowa Star Conference South Division game on Jan. 21.
Baxter scored the game’s first five points but never led again.
“It’s been the story of our year. The ball has a hard time going in,” Baxter boys’ coach Zach Hasselbrink said.
Junior Cole Damman and senior Will Clapper both scored 17 points and junior Carter Nelsen nearly recorded a double-double but only four Bolts scored in the game.
After senior Brendyn Padget hit a layup and Damman buried the first of his three 3-pointers early in the first quarter, North Tama went on a 12-4 run to lead 12-9 after one quarter.
The Bolts (5-8 overall, 4-4 in conference play) came within one point three different times before tying the game twice in the second period.
Damman scored seven points in the second frame, but the Bolts trailed 27-24 at halftime.
“Ultimately, it comes down to us coaches trying to figure out how to get the ball to go in the hole,” Hasselbrink said.
“If we are going to hold teams to around 50 points, we should be able to win those games. We need to figure that out.”
The Redhawks (10-5, 6-1) led the Bolts by one at halftime in the first meeting this season but used an 11-0 run in the third quarter to pull away.
North Tama went on an 12-2 run in the third on Monday and led 39-28 midway through the quarter.
Baxter was able to weather things this time around though as Clapper got a three-point play and Damman buried a trey to trim the Bolts’ deficit to five.
Clapper scored another bucket inside the lane to end the third and that basket sent the Bolts into the final quarter with a 41-37 deficit.
Clapper got his team within two with a bucket early in the fourth, but the Bolts couldn’t get over the hump.
“There are things that are starting to come around, but North Tama is a good team. They took away some things we do best,” Hasselbrink said. “I thought we battled hard and gave ourselves a chance down the stretch.”
Every time Baxter got close, North Tama responded at the other end. Trailing by five in the closing minutes, Damman and Clapper each scored inside to trim the margin to one.
The Bolts had a chance to take a late lead in the closing seconds but Nelsen missed a hook shot in the lane.
North Tama made things tough for Clapper all night, and the Redhawks made sure he didn’t touch the ball on that possession.
“They did a nice job all night of making sure it was going to be tough for Clapper to get his touches. He had to work for his points,” Hasselbrink said. “We did get the ball to a post player who is shooting 60 percent though. He took his favorite shot. We were OK with that look given the situation and the time.”
Out of a timeout with 12.2 seconds left, North Tama used a baseball pass to Hale Hulme and a layup by Hulme pushed the margin back to three.
Senior Ian Thomson got an open look from downtown but missed the potential game-tying shot, and the time ran out on the Bolts.
“We didn’t Hulme to touch it on that final possession, but that didn’t work out for us,” Hasselbrink said. “The plan was to trap for about six seconds and then foul the next guy who touched it. We just didn’t want to give up a 3-pointer or an and one.
“We still had the ball down three with a chance to tie it. It was an open 3-pointer from a senior. It would have been awesome to see that shot go in for him, but it’s a shot we can live with, too.”
Clapper added nine rebounds to his 17 points, while Damman had 17 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals. Nelsen added eight points, 10 boards and three assists and Padget scored five points and tallied four rebounds. Thomson also had four boards.
Baxter was plagued by 22 turnovers.
Hulme led all scorers with 18 points and Cael Even chipped in 12 points.
Baxter’s game against Collins-Maxwell on Jan. 18 was postponed due to weather. The game will be made up on Feb. 2.
The Bolts played at Don Bosco on Jan. 22. They host Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 26 in Baxter.
Meskwaki Settlement 71, Baxter 51
MESKWAKI SETTLEMENT — Baxter’s two-game winning streak ended at the hands of Meskwaki Settlement School on Jan. 15 during an Iowa Star Conference South Division game.
The Warriors didn’t ever pull away with any one big quarter, but Meskwaki Settlement led by four after one, 10 at halftime, 16 after three and defeated the Bolts 71-51 at home.
Damman led the Bolts (5-6, 4-2) with 20 points and four assists, while Clapper tallied 14 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Nelsen also scored eight points and collected seven boards.
Thomson finished with five points, three rebounds and five assists, but the Bolts were plagued by 19 turnovers.
Baxter shot 49 percent from the floor but was only 5-of-19 from 3-point range. The Bolts only attempted two free throws, missing both.
Tate Bear led Meskwaki (9-3, 7-1) with 26 points, Noah Seymour had 15 points and Taurice Grant chipped in 13 points.
The Warriors shot 54 percent from the floor and made 10-of-12 from the free-throw line.