MONROE — PCM senior Jack Jungling thought he took his 23rd charge of the season late in the fourth quarter against Nevada’s Jacob Khounsourath on Tuesday night.
The official had a different opinion and then a collective decision by the crew enraged the Mustangs’ home crowd even more.
With the game tied at 63-all, Khounsourath collided with Jungling on a drive to the basket in the final seconds. A foul was called against secondary defender Cutler VandeLune as Khounsourath was passing the ball to a teammate in the corner.
The officials, with the help of the Nevada head coach, determined Khounsourath was shooting and his free throws with .9 seconds left sunk the Mustangs, 65-63, during a Heart of Iowa Athletic Conference matchup.
“I was extremely unhappy with the call, but there was nothing I could do about it,” PCM head boys basketball coach Tony Ford said. “And we have talked all year long about having the next play mentality. Even in that situation, you don’t want to go to the next play. You want to get angry. And you want something to happen. But nothing we could do was going to change it. That was the hardest part for me.”
The controversial call helped the Cubs lock up the conference title. A loss on Tuesday would have given Roland-Story a chance to grab a share of the championship.
It also spoiled Senior Night for a group of six Mustangs who were recognized before the contest.
The Mustangs trailed by nine in the second quarter and rallied from a 10-point deficit in the third but fell short despite shooting 50 percent from the floor and out-rebounding the Cubs in the game.
PCM fell to 2-6 in games decided by single digits.
“The Senior Night atmosphere and the crowd got the guys super stoked,” Ford said. “We just have had a hard time, for whatever reason, winning the close games this year. I think we are close to breaking through.”
There were five lead changes in the first. Jungling scored the first points of the game and then his second bucket put the Mustangs back in front 6-5.
Gavin Van Gorp’s jumper made it 8-7 and VandeLune drilled a 3-pointer late in the frame to keep the Mustangs within four after one.
A three-point play by Van Gorp and a layup by Gavin Steenhoek trimmed PCM’s margin to one, but Nevada used an 8-0 run to go back up by nine.
That spurt included five points from Khounsourath, who led the Cubs with 24 points, five rebounds and five assists.
PCM (9-12, 6-8 in the HOIAC) stayed within striking distance the rest of the half, and Jungling’s bucket inside the lane dropped the Mustangs’ deficit to five at halftime.
The Mustangs stayed close in the third thanks to a pair of 3s from both VandeLune and Van Gorp, but Nevada took its largest lead of the game after a 10-2 run.
The Cubs (15-4, 12-1) led by 10 after three and hit five of their 11 triples in the frame.
“They’re a really good 3-point shooting team,” Ford said. “We knew we’d have to fly around and cover up shooters.
“Usually a scouting report will tell you not to guard certain guys out there, but with this team, you have to guard them all. Because they can all shoot. And they are very athletic.”
A strong start to the fourth got PCM back into the game. Jungling scored twice inside and Van Gorp buried a 3 and converted back-to-back layups to get the hosts within 61-60.
A Jungling free throw tied the game at 61-all with 2:32 to go and his final basket of the night tied the scored at 63-all with 1:48 left.
“He’s been the unsung hero of this team this year,” Ford said about Jungling. “Everyone knows who Jake (Wendt) is and who (Van Gorp) is.
“The first year I had ever coached PCM basketball, I had Jack in eighth grade. Our team motto was ‘play like Jack.’ He just does everything so well and the effort is on another level. He has taken 22 charges this year. That’s unbelievable. He’s the guy no one talks about, and he doesn’t care.”
Nevada’s final possession started with a timeout with 7.5 seconds to play. It ended with the Khounsourath freebies.
The win by Nevada completed the season sweep of the Mustangs. The Cubs won by 22 at home on Jan. 5. It was Nevada’s 10th straight win over PCM.
“The difference between the game tonight and the game up there was they went on large runs and we didn’t answer many of them,” Ford said. “Tonight, it felt like it was back and forth, which was good.”
Van Gorp scored a team-best 21 points and dished out two assists. Jungling finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.
VandeLune added 12 points, Jacob Wendt chipped in six points, seven rebounds and four assists and Steenhoek had four points, two boards and two steals.
Wagaman grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists and Kaleb DeVries delivered two assists.
The Mustangs made 8-of-15 from 3, connected on 3-of-8 from the free-throw line and out-rebounded the Cubs 30-26.
Khounsourath and John Nelson combined to score 46 of Nevada’s 65 points. Nelson tallied 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Cubs shot 42 percent from the floor, buried 11-of-34 from 3 and sunk 6-of-7 from the foul line.
Notes: The six seniors recognized before the game were Jungling, Wendt, Easton Webb, Jacob Elrod, Gabe Hobbs and Mark Bussan. Webb buried a jumper early in the first quarter and Bussan scored four points in the loss. … There were no lead changes after the first. Nevada led every second of the final three quarters outside of the two ties in the final minutes.