DES MOINES - Things didn't go the way North Tama's boys' basketball team had planned on Thursday during Class 1A semifinal action against defending champion Boyden-Hull.
Trailing by just two at halftime, the Redhawks were outscored 45-22 in the second half and will now play in the third-place game this morning at 10 a.m.
But even though the end result will not be completely what North Tama had hoped for, the Redhawks still plan on leaving a big dent in the school's history book.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
North Tama senior Brent Billerbeck, left, gets the ball poked away from him by Boyden-Hull’s Miguel Alvarado during the second half of Thursday’s state semifinal. Billerbeck finished with nine points.
"We have to play with a chip on our shoulder (today)" North Tama coach Brandon Clubb said. "We are in unchartered territory for this school. We want to end things on a good note. We still have something to prove, too."
Mitchell Boerm, the Redhawks' leading scorer, said the turnaround will be tough as North Tama faces top-ranked Danville early today. But he relishes the chance to play one more game with his teammates.
"It's going to be tough to get back up for a third-place game after losing, but it is one last game with the team you love and with the guys I love," said Boerm, who scored 12 points in the loss.
It won't be easy to bounce back less than 24 hours after a 25-point loss, but the Redhawks are in agreement that they want to go out with a win in the school's first-ever state tournament.
"We know we have to fight again," said North Tama senior guard Jacob Wrage, who scored a team-high 15 points. "We want to set the bar high. We want to come back and get third. This is something our school has never done before."
Boerm said it would help ease the pain if his squad can hand Danville just its second loss of the season.
"It would be good for our school to be able to take home a third-place trophy," said Boerm, who will play football and basketball at Central College next season. "It would be nice to get this next one for the school. It would be nice to go out with a win.
"Now that Danville has lost, there are no undefeated teams anymore in the state. That just shows you how difficult it is to win a state title."
The Redhawks had lost just once prior to the state tournament, and a strong Danville team stands in their way of taking third.
North Tama (26-2) will need to be much more aggressive offensively to come out with a win. That is something that hurt the Redhawks in the second half against Boyden-Hull, which beat Danville in last year's title game.
"We just lost some momentum and stopped being aggressive," Clubb said of the loss to the Comets. "You can tell they have been here before. They are a veteran team. Hats off to them."
Not many programs in the state can say they ended the season with a win. Most end the year with an emotional defeat.
North Tama can walk away a winner one more time - and can do so in front of a community that has strongly supported the Redhawks all season.