NEVADA - For almost three full quarters, the North Polk boys’ basketball team did whatever it wanted against Nevada Friday at the Nevada High School Field House.
The Comets dominated inside behind the play of Caleb Lomica, and guard Braden Hoksbergen engineered an efficient offense. The North Polk defense was also strong as North Polk built a 21-point lead.
But things quickly fell apart for the Comets. Nevada picked up its full-court press in a big way and North Polk began to rush things and make mistakes.
The end result was a 25-2 run by the Cubs to end the game, giving them a stunning 45-43 comeback win over the Comets.
“We stopped doing what we did in the first half,” North Polk head boys’ basketball coach Nick Wilkins said. “I know they picked up their intensity, but I feel like it was more we changed the way we were playing. We stopped doing the simple and easy things like we were doing in the first half to get plenty of wide-open shots. We started forcing things and kind of pressing a little bit in the second half and it just kind of snowballed from there.”
A dunk by Lomica gave North Polk a 41-20 lead late in the third quarter. But a basket from Trent Stahl and three-point play by Om’Unique Wilkerson got Nevada within 16 by the end of the quarter.
Stahl and Wilkerson kept up their hot play in the fourth quarter and North Polk went completely flat on offense.
Stahl hit a 3-pointer and added another basket to get Nevada within 43-40, and then Stahl got a steal with 39 seconds left. Nevada got Wilkerson an open look from the top of the key following a time out and he drained the shot from behind the 3-point line to tie the game with 20 seconds left.
Stahl then came up with another huge steal for Nevada. He drove the ball in and converted a layup with 2.7 seconds left to give Nevada the lead.
North Polk was unable to answer, falling to 3-12 overall and 2-8 in the Heart of Iowa Conference. Wilkins decided to only use one timeout during the fateful fourth quarter and let his players make plays — they just couldn’t get anything going.
“It’s one of those situations where some people would call time and some people wouldn’t,” Wilkins said. “I was trying to get them to push in transition. Give (Nevada) credit — they hit a bunch of shots the second half. They had kids hit shots that quite frankly — they’re not shooting a good percentage of during the year. What can you do about that?”
Stahl finished with 25 points, six steals and two assists. He scored 15 points during Nevada’s big run to end the game.
Wilkerson scored eight of his 10 points during Nevada’s big finish and he added five steals and one block. Jakob Strottman also hit a timely basket during Nevada’s decisive rally.
Tyler Sansgaard had four points, two assists and two steals for Nevada. Luke Merfeld added two points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.
The victory put Nevada at 6-9 overall and 5-5 in the HOIC.
It was the third close game in a row for North Polk after getting Hoksbergen into the lineup. The Comets lost 59-57 to Gilbert and rallied for a 44-43 win over Roland-Story in home games last week.
“It’s getting closer, we just have to put four quarters together,” Wilkins said. “We haven’t done that really. Even though we lost (to Gilbert), that was probably our most completely game all year long. Roland-Story was a bad first half and tonight was a really good first half and (we) just didn’t have it in the second half.”
Lomica finished with 20 points, five blocks and five rebounds. Hoksbergen netted 12 points and added seven assists and four rebounds; Colten Parkins tallied seven points and rebounds apiece, plus three assists, and Cam Markert delivered two points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Nevada 45, North Polk 43
NP 18 15 8 2 - 43
N 8 6 11 20 - 45
North Polk (43) - Cole Bouchard 0-3 0-0 0, Austin McArthur 0-0 0-0 0, Clark Hood 0-2 0-0 0, Braden Hoksbergen 5-10 0-0 12, Colten Parkins 3-7 0-0 7, Caleb Lomica 9-12 2-5 20, Cameron Markert 1- 0-0 2, Sam Carstensen 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 19-37 2-5 43. 3-point field goals (3): Hoksbergen 2, Parkins. Rebounds (33): Parkins 7, Markert 7, Carstensen 7. Assists (15): Hoksbergen 7. Steals (4): Markert 3. Blocks (6): Lomica 5. Fouls: 15.
Nevada (45) - Trent Stahl 12-19 0-0 25, Devin See 1-5 0-0 2, Kody Kruschwitz 0-0 0-1 0, Tyler Sansgaard 1-6 1-3 4, Luke Merfeld 0-5 2-2 2, Jakob Strottman 1-2 0-0 2, Om’Unique Wilkerson 4-7 1-5 10, Ayden Rhodes 0-0 0-0 0, Jack Cahill 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 19-47 4-10 45. 3-point field goals (3): Stahl, Sansgaard, Wilkerson. Rebounds (17): Stahl 4, Merfeld 4. Assists (9): Stahl 2, Sansgaard 2, Merfeld 2, Wilkerson 2. Steals (16): Stahl 6. Blocks (5): Strottman 2. Fouls: 10.
ALLEMAN - North Polk used a big second half rally for a dramatic 44-43 victory over Roland-Story Jan. 16 in Alleman.
The Comets trailed 26-14 at the half. They pulled within 35-29 after three quarters, then ended the game on a 15-8 run to stun the Norsemen and earn their second win in three games.
North Polk improved to 3-11 overall and 2-7 in the Heart of Iowa Conference with the victory. The Comets shot 43 percent from the field and made 7 of 20 3-pointers.
Caleb Lomica went for 16 points on 8 of 9 shooting and he also had seven rebounds and five blocks for North Polk. Cameron Markert didn’t score, but he had nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block.
Braden Hoksbergen added six points, eight assists, three rebounds, one block and one steal. Cole Bouchard had seven points, two rebounds and one steal; Sam Carstensen delivered six points, two rebounds and one steal and Clark Hood scored six points.
North Polk 44, Roland-Story 43
RS 16 10 9 8 - 43
NP 4 10 15 15 - 44
North Polk (44) - Cole Bouchard 2-7 1-2 7, Austin McArthur 0-0 0-0 0, Clark Hood 2-4 0-0 6, Braden Hoksbergen 2-6 0-0 6, Colten Parkins 1-5 0-0 3, Quinten Sommers 0-0 0-0 0, Cameron Markert 0-6 0-1 0, Caleb Lomica 8-9 0-1 16, Sam Carstensen 2-3 2-3 6. Totals: 17-40 3-7 44. 3-point field goals (7): Bouchard 2, Hood 2, Hoksbergen 2, Parkins. Rebounds (28): Markert 9. Assists (16): Hoksbergen 8. Steals (5): Markert 2. Blocks (7): Lomica 5.