Tenth-ranked George-Little Rock used a stifling defense to get off to a good start then made their free throws down the stretch to hold off second-ranked Bellevue Marquette 49-47 and claim the 1A championship.
For the game the Mustangs made 17 of 21 from the charity stripe. George-Little Rock coach Ben Gerleman says it’s the school’s first state title. “I thought all of our kids stepped up and played just an excellent game,” he said. “We were fortunate the ball bounced our way a couple of times and I can’t be more happy for our kids.”
Marquette coach Jim Squires says it was the best defense his team faced all year. “They really came out and played that triangle-and-two and that really gave us fits,” Squires says. “Their defense was really tough tonight.”
After scoring only 12 points in the opening half, sixth-ranked Nodaway Valley cranked up the offense in the second half and took home the state title in class 2A. The Wolverines shot 53 percent in the second half as they beat number two Fort Dodge St. Edmond 46-39. “We’re very fortunate,” coach Darrell Burmeister said of his Nodaway Valley team. “The kids went out and got it. That’s what we needed to do tonight and (earned) the first state championship in basketball at our school.”
Center James Larson led all scorers. He finished with 17 points and ten rebounds, and was named to the all-tournament team. “I’m really just amazed right now,” he said afterwards. “I don’t believe any of this. It feels great.”