BOYS HOOPS: Royals edge GMG for a share of conference title

GARWIN – The Colo-NESCO boys’ basketball team closed out Iowa Star Conference play with three straight wins to capture a share of the South Division title, capping the run with a 65-63 victory over GMG on Saturday night.

Cole Ozbun matched his season- and career-high with 21 points to lead the Royals (15-5, 13-3), who got the win they needed Friday night at home over Meskwaki Settlement. The Warriors (17-3, 13-3) were forced to share their first-ever conference championship in the program’s fifth year of existence.

Tanner Clatt made four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, Brady Stoeffler added three treys and 13 points and Christian Reischauer had 10 points as Colo-NESCO held off a frenetic fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the host Wolverines (11-7, 8-7). Stoeffler led with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals, while Reischauer tabbed seven boards and four assists.

GMG, the only team besides Colo-NESCO to defeat Meskwaki this season, scored 30 points in the final period and nearly erased an 11-point deficit in the process.

Chad Plaehn and Bridger Claassen led the Wolverines with 18 points apiece. Brock Fisher had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Luke Petty contributed 10 points in the loss.

The win gave Colo-NESCO its first share of the conference title since splitting it with North Tama in 2011-12. The Royals claimed consecutive crowns in the Heart of Iowa Conference’s Small Division in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

GMG closes the regular season with a three-game road swing this week, visiting East Marshall on Monday, CAL on Tuesday and BCLUW on Friday. Colo-NESCO travels to Roland-Story on Friday and Valley Lutheran (Cedar Falls) next Saturday.