3-pointers push Spartan boys past South Tama
By TROY HYDE
GRUNDY CENTER – It is a coach’s dream to have guards on the outside burying 3-pointers and post players down low doing lots of damage on the block.
That is what Grundy Center coach Rollie Ackerman was fortunate enough to have Friday night during the Spartans’ North Iowa Cedar League West Division win over South Tama County.
Austin Burroughs hit four of the Spartans’ seven 3-pointers on the outside and Jordan Stoner led the Spartans with 21 points in the lane and Grundy Center made enough plays down the stretch to beat the Trojans, 59-56.
“We were very fortunate to win,” said Ackerman. “They were hard to judge because their level of competition was tough. Fortunately we were able to make enough shots and made enough plays to get the win.”
The Spartans won despite Trojan sophomore Darius Lasley scoring a game-high 24 points. Grant Koch also had 13 points for South Tama, which dropped to 0-5 on the season after missing eight free throws.
“The free throws were big,” said South Tama coach Nate Doran. “They had a plus-seven advantage from the line in the first half. They also had some open shooters and they hit the shots. We are definitely headed in the right direction though.”
South Tama led 16-13 after one quarter after Lasley erupted for 10 points. He got a few easy buckets off turnovers and buried a 3 at the end of the period to give the Trojans a lead.
“I would say he is the real deal,” Doran said. “Once we get his defensive situations up with his offensive situations he will be a complete player.”
Burroughs went to work in the second quarter though for the Spartans and his six points helped Grundy Center take a 30-27 lead into the locker room at halftime. Burroughs finished with 15 points in the game for the victors.
The game stayed close throughout the second half. Stoner and Brady Hook had an ongoing battle with STC post players Koch and Ian Slagle inside but it was the outside shooting of the Spartans that propelled them to the win.
Clayton Rosenberger buried back-to-back triples to put STC up three early in the period, but Burroughs’ triple later in the frame tied the game at 47-all. That answered a Lasley 3 on the previous possession and set the stage for a competitive fourth quarter.
“That big 3 helped propel us,” said Ackerman of the Burroughs counter 3 ball. “Austin is a shooter, and if he is open he’s going to shoot it. Fortunately he knocked down the open shots tonight.”
Slagle’s 3-point play to start the fourth gave STC a four-point lead but Grundy Center got a bucket from Stoner and a Jordan Clapp 3 to regain the edge and then Stoner converted back-to-back baskets after a Lasley hoop to push the Trojans over the top.
Lasley added a late layup to trim the STC deficit to just one but Clapp found a wide open Hook under the hoop with 25 seconds left to seal the win.
Lasley had a chance to tie with 10 seconds to go but his 3 was off line. The ball was tipped around under the hoop before eventually being grabbed and cleared by the home team.
Clapp finished with eight points for the Spartans (3-2, 3-0), who remained unbeaten in NICL West play. Slagle scored 10 for the Trojans, who have played a really tough schedule to begin their season.
“We are taking big steps from where we started,” said Doran. “We have a lot of inexperienced guys. We hadn’t meshed to this point, but I think we stepped up and did much better tonight.”