NP boys improve to 7-5 in the HOIC

NEVADA – A great finish helped the North Polk boys’ basketball team pull off a season sweep of Nevada with a 49-38 victory over the Cubs Friday in Nevada.

The Comets trailed 30-29 after two Cole Gidel free throws for Nevada with seven minutes, 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But then Blake Brauer and Russell Greene sparked a 13-2 Comet run and North Polk never looked back.

With the win the Comets improved to 7-8 overall and 7-5 in the Heart of Iowa Conference. The victory was their fifth in seven games since a 68-29 home loss to Prairie City-Monroe on Jan. 3.

"We’re close to having a way better record than what we have and after the PCM game everybody has come to practice ready to play," Greene said. "We haven’t looked back since."

Greene had the decisive basket for North Polk against Nevada.

The Comets were leading 42-35 with two minutes left. After a defensive stop Greene took the ball, drove toward the middle of the lane and aggressively attacked the basket.

Greene scored and drew a foul with 1:47 left. He couldn’t make the free throw, but the big bucket was the final straw that broke Nevada’s back.

"They were stopping us on that press they had, so I saw a gap and I took it," Greene said. "I was looking to dish to Brauer, but they didn’t come up and guard me, so I just took it all the way."

Greene finished with 12 points. But his rebounding – accounting for half of his team’s total boards with 12 – was the difference maker for North Polk.

"Those little things are what win games," Greene said. "If you have guys boxing out and rebounding, that’ll win tough close games like this."

Bauer led North Polk with 17 points as he hit 4 of 6 3-pointers and 5 of 6 free throws. Brauer is averaging 18.6 points since since the loss to PCM.

"Coach (Tron Scott) thought it was better for me to play outside than inside," Brauer said. "He’s been running a lot more plays for me and I’ve just really been feeling it a lot. I’m glad to help our team out."

Brauer also had five rebounds, three steals and one block.

Brett Haun gave North Polk a third player in double figures with 10 points. Max Karpinski added four points and Grant Rampton, Hunter Dark and Dillon McBee each chipped in two.

Nevada fell to 2-10 both overall and in the HOIC with the loss. The Cubs shot well from the line – making 16 of 20 free throws – but they were only 10 of 38 from the field (26 percent).

Gidel scored all 11 of his points at the line to lead Nevada and he also had two steals. Alex Merfeld contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and one block, T.J. Fey finished with five points, six rebounds and one steal, Patrick Stephenson tallied five points and one steal and Riley Huhn ended up with two points and five assists for the Cubs.

North Polk 49, Nevada 38

NP 10 10 9 20 – 49

N 8 11 9 10 – 38

North Polk (49) – Reed Smith 0-0 0-2 0, Grant Rampton 1-2 0-0 2, Hunter Dark 1-3 0-0 2, Blake Brauer 4-8 5-6 17, Russell Greene 3-3 6-8 12, Dillon McBee 0-5 2-2 2, Brett Haun 2-7 5-8 10, Max Karpinski 2-3 0-0 4, Austin Hillebo 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 13-33 18-26 49. 3-point field goals (5): Brauer 4, Haun. Rebounds (24): Greene 12. Assists (10): McBee 3. Steals (7): Brauer 3. Blocks (1): Brauer.

Nevada (38) – Cole Gidel 0-6 11-12 11, Patrick Stephenson 1-3 2-2 5, Riley Huhn 1-3 0-1 2, T.J. Fey 2-7 0-0 5, Duncan Westphal 1-3 0-0 2, Zach Hansen 1-4 0-0 2, Alex Merfeld 4-8 2-3 10, Jake Barker 0-1 0-0 0, Bennett Thompson 0-1 0-0 0, A.J. Strottman 0-2 1-2 1. Totals: 10-38 16-20 38. 3-piont field goals (2): Stephenson, Fey. Rebounds (21): Merfeld 7. Assists (8): Huhn 5. Steals (6): Gidel 2. Blocks (1): Merfeld.

ALLEMAN – The final two quarters weren’t kind to North Polk in a 74-59 home loss to Gilbert Jan. 21.

The Comets held a 39-38 lead over the Tigers at the half. But they only scored nine points in the third quarter to fall behind by five, and Gilbert put up 21 points in the final quarter to pull away and hand North Polk its fifth Heart of Iowa Conference setback.

North Polk was unable to contend with the inside dominance of Wes Greder and Jared Gescheidler. They combined for 34 points and 30 rebounds - helping the Tigers outrebound the Comets by a 44-31 margin.

Greder finished with 13 points, 17 rebounds, six steals and three assists. Gescheidler had 21 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Russell Greene made 10 of 14 field goals to lead North Polk with 20 points. He also pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out three assists.

Blake Brauer added 16 points, seven rebounds and one assist for the Comets. Brett Haun tacked on seven points and two steals and Max Karpinski chipped in six points, three rebounds and one block.

Gilbert 74, North Polk 59

G 14 24 15 21 – 74

NP 15 24 9 11 – 59

Gilbert (74) – Wes Greder 6-12 0-0 13, Sam Jamison 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson Wieland 1-3 3-4 5, Dax Hatfield 4-13 2-2 10, Chris Culek 1-1 0-0 2, Ryan Blum 4-7 1-2 10, Jack Hoiberg 4-11 1-3 9, Adam Baker 2-3 0-0 4, David Nelson 0-0 0-0 0, Zach Swailes 0-0 0-0 0, Garrett Von Walden 0-0 0-0 0, Noah Haverdink 0-0 0-0 0, Ethan Weis 0-0 0-0 0, Jared Gescheidler 9-15 2-3 21. Totals: 31-65 9-14 74. 3-point field goals (3): Greder, Blum, Gescheidler. Rebounds (44): Greder 17. Assists (18): Hatfield 9. Steals (19): Greder 6. Blocks: None.

North Polk (59) – Brett Haun 3-11 0-0 7, Jonah Clausen 0-0 0-0 0, Dillon McBee 2-8 0-0 4, Patrick Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Blake Brauer 6-11 3-3 16, Reed Smith 0-2 1-2 1, Max Karpinski 3-7 0-0 6, Berke Osborne 0-0 0-0 0, Grant Rampton 0-0 2-2 2, Austin Hillebo 0-3 0-0 0, Chris Flynn 1-1 0-0 2, Russell Greene 10-14 0-0 20. Totals: 25-57 6-7 59. 3-point field goals (3): Haun, Brauer, Flynn. Rebounds (31): Greene 11. Assists (9): Greene 3. Steals (5): Haun 2, McBee 2. Blocks (1): Karpinski.