Mount Pleasant Beats Western Dubuque in Double OT, 66-62
DES MOINES, Iowa — Still as seemingly bewildered as his players, Dennis Geraghty tried to put as positive a spin on it as he could. Head coaches are supposed to do that.
“They’ll be considered the second-best team in Western Dubuque history,” Geraghty said, softly. “No doubt about it.”
Second best. No more cruel words in sports.
And make no mistake, a 66-62 double-overtime loss Saturday night to Mount Pleasant was cruel, cruel, cruel for the Western Dubuque Bobcats. They seemed to have the Class 3A state championship game lost, then won, then lost again.
“I’ve never been prouder of a team, but it’s tough in the locker room right now,” Geraghty said. “Very tough to take. Right there. A couple of things happen, and we’re state champs.”
Instead they’ll have to settle for second best. There are those words again. Western Dubuque’s only state basketball title remains in 2001.
“It’s tough to see it right now because we lost, but we had a phenomenal season,” said WD’s T.J. Lake. “We have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Neither does Lake. He had a team-high 20 points, dribbling around like Marcus Haynes to milk the clock with his team nursing a lead in the first OT.
He hit four consecutive clutch free throws to put Western Dubuque (24-3) ahead with 26 seconds left, 55-52, but missed two with 12 to go to give Mount Pleasant (26-1) a last gasp.
Dalton Conrad dribbled down and swished a tying 3-point shot from the top of the circle.
“The player on me just kind of laid off me,” Conrad said. “I saw the opening.”
“I’ve shot a million of them at the rec center,” Lake said. “I was just thinking ‘It’s just like the rec center. No one is here.’ They just didn’t go down.”
Six-foot-seven center Blake Vandenberg then took over the second OT for MP, with five straight points off offensive rebounds putting the Panthers up, 60-56. Western Dubuque got within two on a Logan Pitz drive with 1:44 go to, but the Bobcats didn’t score again.
“Wow,” said Mount Pleasant Coach Paul Rundquist, the former Maquoketa Valley standout. “Just kids making plays. This is all about the kids.”
It’s the first state hoops title for Rundquist and the school. The Panthers’ best player, point guard Jordan Ashton, missed the final two minutes of regulation because of cramps in both legs, which aided WD’s comeback, and he fouled out late in the first overtime, but his team persevered.
Ashton finished with 20 points. Cameron James added 19 for Western Dubuque.
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