South Tama head coach Lonnie Hammond summarized the game very well.
"This wasn't a game, I don't think, that either team lost, but somebody had to win."
From the start, this game had a different look and feel to it from other games this season. Offensively, the boys racked up a season-high 75 points, something that as Hammond noted, usually bodes well for a team.
Driving to the basket in overtime against the Comets is South Tama's Clay Waterbury. Waterbury finished with eight points as the Trojans came up just short against BCLUW December 16 at home, 78-75.
"You put 75 points up on the board, you're feeling pretty good about your results. We've got to do a better job on the defensive end. At the start of the season we couldn't score, but we could defend, and now we're scoring and our defense isn't holding up as well as it could."
After one period, the Trojans were trailing by just one, 23-22. Sam Kuhter, who has been on fire from the floor recently, pumped in eight points in the first quarter alone. Three-pointers by Ricky Hopper and Clay Waterbury as well as scores by Jose Fonseca and Taylor Johnson helped the Trojans keep pace.
Hammond continues to be impressed with the growth Kuhter and the others have made this season. It is leading to better basketball.
"We're making plays instinctively. We're not having to think about a lot of them. It's coming together."
The pace slowed down some in the second quarter, and the Trojans went in behind, 34-29. Down by just five, the Trojans were in position to make a move in the second half.
"I told them, 'The first three minutes of the second half, who was going to be able to impose their will defensively?' And we did," related Hammond.
The Trojans went on a 13-3 tear, coming from five down to five up when Waterbury scored with 2:22 left in the third to make it 48-43, South Tama.
The Comets fought back and took a lead when Zach Cashin cashed in on two free throws to make it 50-48, BCLUW with 14 seconds to go. But a three point shot with one tick left by Hopper gave the Trojans the lead after three, 51-50.
The Comets clamped down on Kuhter in the second half. But Johnson and Fonseca stepped up in the fourth quarter, which saw three lead changes along the way.
After Wyatt Gunderson made the second of two free throws to give the Comets a two-point lead with 38 seconds to go, Hammond called a timeout with 30 seconds left.
Fonseca nailed a short jumper with 20 seconds left to tie it up. The Trojans played defense and held on to take it to to overtime, 66-66.
Just nine seconds into the four-minute overtime period, Fonseca fouled out and put Conner Ubben on the line for two. Ubben converted both attempts.
At 3:11, Kuhter was fouled on a rebound and went to the line for two, making both of them to tie things back up, 68-68.
Ubben and the Comets were not done. Ubben connected on a three with 2:56 to go.
Kuhter scored twice (2:43, 2:00) to give the Trojans their last lead in the game, 72-71. Cole Thompson's score with 1:40 left gave the Comets the lead, 73-72.
The Trojans had a chance to regain the lead when they went to the line for two but missed them both. Four consecutive points by Thompson built the lead to 77-72 with 24 seconds left.
After a free throw by Isaac Novak with four seconds left, Kuhter hit an uncontested three-pointer with no time left to make the final score, 78-75 BCLUW.
Hammond looks to build off the tough loss.
"When a team stays in the game until the end like this, you build confidence. To their credit, they made some free throws, they mad some shots."
"The frustrating part is how hard the kids work and we can't get a win. I told them in the locker room, 'We're knocking on the door and the hinges are loose. It's just a matter of what night is the door going to come in.' I'm proud of how hard they work."
The Trojans are now 0-6 (0-5) for the season. South Tama played Gladbrook-Reinbeck at home December 19 before facing Vinton-Shellsburg the following night.