Boys State Basketball: North Tama Rallies To Beat Ankeny

By Jeff Johnson and John Campbell, Reporters

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By Grant Burkhardt

This game was televised live on KCRG 9.2, just as every game of the boys state basketball tournament will be.

DES MOINES, Iowa - Leave it to Mitchell Boerm to give one of the most colorful and blunt descriptions of a second-half rally you've ever heard.

"We just had to pull our heads out of where the sun doesn't shine," the North Tama forward said. "We got them out."

In time to rally for a 47-45 win over Ankeny Christian in a Class 1A state tournament quarterfinal Monday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena. North Tama's first trip to state is elongated by two games, including a 12:15 p.m. Thursday semifinal against defending champ Boyden-Hull.

"Obviously, the second half we settled down a little bit and played the way we needed to play," said North Tama Coach Brandon Clubb. "We have a very veteran group, and the maturity kind of came through in the end."

As did the Redhawks' size, which honestly was just as much of a difference maker. North Tama has some tall and hefty dudes on the interior in the 6-foot-5 Boerm, 6-6 aptly named Nolan Hefty and 6-6 Skyler Kvidera.

When ACA's lone big man, 6-foot-7 Ben Taylor, got into foul trouble in the second half, North Tama powered the basketball inside for repeated point-blank chances. The Redhawks shot 32 free throws in the game to Ankeny Christian's 12.

"Taylor was out, so we had to get it down low," said NT's Dalton Hulme.

A 21-4 run in the third and fourth quarters turned a 25-15 halftime deficit into as much as an eight-point lead North Tama (26-1) never relinquished. Though the Redhawks tried, missing 18 free throws, including a bunch down the stretch.

In fact, ACA had a shot to win, with a half-court desperation heave by sophomore Damon Stubbs off an inbounds pass from the end line falling well short.

"They've got some great post players," said Stubbs, who had 13 points, including three treys from behind the NBA line. "It was just tough to stop, especially with Ben in foul trouble."

Clayton Tonemah had 14 points to lead ACA. Boerm's 19 were a game high.

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