DES MOINES - When Norwalk was just the least bit predictable, Waverly-Shell Rock delivered a shocker.
Connor Coleman and Klinton Carlson hooked up for a go-ahead alley-oop slam to with just 2 seconds left in overtime to keep the top-ranked Go-Hawks undefeated and alive in the Class 3A Iowa Boys High School State Basketball Tournament with a 50-49 victory over Norwalk on Thursday night.
Waverly-Shell Rock (26-0) had a chance to win in regulation but was flummoxed by the zone defense of Norwalk (22-4) and Coleman's jumper came up short.
Down by one in overtime, the Go-Hawks had their play all mapped out.
"We had a special play for that situation. You can tell we've worked on it before," said W-SR head coach Nate Steege, "and to come out and to execute it under those conditions is just a huge credit to these kids."
"I just felt they wouldn't be expecting it in that situation," he added. "I don't know if it was gutsy or not but I felt like it was going to work."
Even though they'd practiced the play "thousands and thousands of times," that didn't mean Coleman, the passer, was calm about the call.
"It's a little nerve-wracking," said the junior, who finished with a team-high 12 points.
But he still managed to deliver a perfect pass to the sophomore Carlson, who flushed it down with two hands.
"I saw it the whole way," said Carlson. "It was a perfect pass from Connor."
"He puts it on the money every time," he added.
Norwalk had a chance to tie the game with 49 seconds left in overtime on Jake Logan's basket as he was fouled, though the Denver University signee missed the free throw to keep W-SR up 48-47, though the Warriors kept the ball after a Go-Hawk fell out of bounds with the basketball.
Mark Phillips delivered the go-ahead basket off the ensuing inbounds play to give Norwalk a one-point edge.
The Go-Hawks ran the clock down to 12 seconds before calling a timeout and the fearless alley-oop.
"It was just the matter of me saying the word, not a matter of me putting anything on the chalk board and they were confident," said Steege. "And that's the thing, if they're confident in the play and they know what they're supposed to do, I was pretty confident it was going to work."
Norwalk's defense held the Go-Hawks to their second-lowest point total of the season, and their lowest scoring output in regulation.
The Go-Hawks' 23 first-half points were their fewest before halftime on the year.
"They knew what we were good at and they tried to take it away and they did a pretty good job," said Steege. "They really slowed us down in our half-court offense and it forced us to take maybe some shots we're not used to taking."
Norwalk shot 33 percent from the floor and got just one basket and four points from Logan, a 16-point-per-game scorer, in the first half but Marcus Littleton chipped in with nine before the break and Phillips had six to help the Warriors to a 23-22 lead at intermission.
Logan finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds while Phillips added 16 points.
Norwalk took a five-point lead into the fourth quarter, but needed Logan's leaner with 1:13 to play to knot the score at 43.
Coleman had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but his jumper from the top of the key drew only iron.
"I just left it a little short," said Coleman. "I'm just glad we came out in overtime and took care of business."