DES MOINES - There will be a new Class 3A boys' basketball champion for the first time in four years.
Western Dubuque used a big second-quarter burst to run and hide from three-time defending champion Bishop Heelan, knocking the Crusaders from the Iowa High School Boys State Basketball Tournament with a 58-43 victory Thursday night.
Bishop Heelan (18-7) had won 22 consecutive elimination games and 10 inside Wells Fargo Arena, but simply didn't have enough offense to keep pace with the Bobcats (24-2).
"Sooner or later, you're going to be on the other end," said Heelan head coach Tom Betz. "Tonight the better team won on the court."
Western Dubuque will try for its second-ever state title and first since 2001 on Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. against Mount Pleasant.
"There's no other feeling like this," said the Bobcats' TJ Lake.
Lake scored a team-best 15 points on the night, 11 coming in a second quarter that saw the Bobcats break the game open.
"He just does that on his own. We don't set anything up," said Bobcats head coach Dennis Geraghty of Lake. "He's able to create his own shots very well."
The two teams were slogging through an ugly first 10 minutes when the Bobcats finally found their stride.
Hunter Westhoff put in a bucket followed by a Lake 3 and a basket from Logan Pitz to fuel a quick 7-0 spurt that forced a Crusaders timeout.
Things didn't improve for Bishop Heelan on the other side of the huddle as Western Dubuque ripped off another nine straight points before a basket by Kyle Heaton stopped the bleeding for the Crusaders, who went into the locker room down 15.
Western Dubuque shot 50 percent from the field and turned seven Heelan turnovers into 14 points in the first half with its opportunistic defense.
"We haven't seen a lot of man(-to-man defense) in the last month in a half to be honest with you," Betz said. "They got out and manned us up and it was something we hadn't seen in a while."
Lake went scoreless in the first frame, but then filled it up to the tune of 11 points in the second half to power the Bobcats' success.
"It's confidence building. Seeing that one go down, the hoop looks that much bigger," said Lake.
The Crusaders made a comeback bid midway through the third quarter with a 7-2 run that put the score at 36-26, but the Bobcats responded with 10-2 run that bridged the third and fourth quarter to build an advantage Heelan couldn't overcome.
Shane Graves finished with a team-high 15 points for the Crusaders, who will face Grinnell in Saturday's consolation championship.
Western Dubuque turned the ball over just six times while the Crusaders coughed it up 16 times, leading to 19 Bobcat points.
"Everything starts with our defense," Geraghty said. "We get the stops, we try to push it, we always look for early offense and then when it's not there, we try to be patient on offense."
The last time the Crusaders were sent home early from the state tournament came in 2008, when they suffered a 24-point setback to another team from Dubuque County -Wahlert.
Fort Dodge St. Edmond 56, Clarinda 44, OT
Tyler Steeve's jumper with 4 seconds left in regulation for Clarinda forced the extra session, but it was all Gaels from then on.
No. 7-seed St. Edmond had a 14-0 spurt in overtime to improve to 20-6 overall going into today's championship game against Mount Vernon. Neil Flattery had 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Gaels. Steeve finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Cardinals.
Mount Vernon 66, MFL/Mar-Mac 49
Jake Timm poured in 27 points on 7-for-11 from the field and 12-for-16 from the foul line to go with six assists as the Mustangs turned back No. 1-seed MFL/Mar-Mac.
Jack Keleher added 16 points as Mount Vernon (22-4) earned a shot at its first state championship tonight since 1976.
Danville 65, Nodaway Valley 49
Top-seeded Danville dominated the fourth quarter to put away Nodaway Valley for a spot in today's finals.
Danville (27-0) outscored Nodaway Valley 19-6 over the final 8 minutes to break open a three-point game. Fourteen of the Bears' 19 points in the fourth quarter came in the paint.
Steven Soukup finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds and four steals for Danville. Collin Bartsch added 14 points and Michael Soukup 13.
Alex Welsch had 17 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for the Wolverines (23-3).
Boyden-Hull 69, Storm Lake St. Mary's 61
The Rockets (25-2) set up a matchup with Danville in the finals after handing defending champion Storm Lake St. Mary's (26-1) its only loss of the winter.
Bryce Moss went 10-for-11 from the floor and finished with 22 points and five blocks for Boyden-Hull, whose only losses came to Class 3A's top-ranked MOC-Floyd Valley.