Two hard fought and close championship games on Saturday night closed out the boy’s state basketball tournament in Des Moines. Top ranked Des Moines Hoover used a stifling defense to edge third ranked Pleasant Valley 33-28 to win the 4A title.It marks the first time a school from Des Moines has won a state crown since 1978 and it is the first for a school that has been close on numerous occasions.
Hoover coach Charles Zanders says in nine trips to state the closest the team has come to a championship was the heartbreaking loss in 1998 when the team finished second. Zanders played on the two earlier teams that made it to state and three times as a coach. He says he’s “extremely honored” to coach the kids.
Huskies center Ray Miller had a game-high 14 points and six blocked shots. Miller said he was happy and overwhelmed and probably wouldn’t be able to sleep. Hoover finishes the season at a perfect 26-0.
The 3A title game was a high scoring thriller and top ranked Harlan capped a perfect season with an 86-79 win over MOC/Floyd Valley. A.J. Arkfeld led the Cyclones with 22 points as the school continues to pile up state championships in numerous sports.
Basketball coach Mitch Osborn says it all starts with legendary football coach Curt Bladt, who he says it the foundation for everything. Osborn says Bladt raises the expectations of the players and he says the way he “chomps on them” is nothing compared to Bladt. Osborn says the Harlan athletes don’t specialize, they play all sports.
MOC/Floyd Valley rallied in the waning seconds of regulation to force overtime but came up short in a bid for a second consecutive 3A title. Dutchmen coach Loren DeJong says it didn’t matter if they won or lose, it would be extremely difficult to say goodbye to the seniors. DeJong says he couldn’t be prouder of a group of guys. Nodaway Valley won the 2A championship. The 1A champ is George-Little Rock.