Coach Lonnie Hammond has predicted for weeks that when the boys put together a complete game in all phases, "Good things will happen!"
The Trojans were certainly not superstitious either, beating East Marshall by 13 on Friday the thirteenth, 52-39.
After a slow start which led to an 18-8 first quarter deficit, it might have been easy to think it's happening again.
Junior Brad Evans drives for two of his eleven second quarter points against East Marshall January 13. He and Sam Kuhter accounted for 22 of South Tama's 29 points in the quarter. The Trojans reversed an early season loss to the Mustangs with a 52-39 win, completing the double win with the girls.
"First quarter we got some shots, they just didn't go in," said Hammond.
Probably no one predicted what was going to happen in the second quarter of the game. It may have been one of the best, most complete quarters of basketball by a Trojan team in recent years.
After falling behind further when Jacob Weatherman sank one of two free throws with 6:22 to go to make it 19-8 East Marshall, the entire South Tama team was "in the zone," starting with a three-pointer from Ricky Hopper with 6:07 to go.
For the next four-and-a-half minutes, the Trojans put on a clinic. Sam Kuhter hit five consecutive shots for eleven points, and Brad Evans hit three for seven. Along with Hopper and Jose Fonseca, as well as defensive play by them and Kaleb Davenport and Daryl Bidwell, South Tama went on a phenomenal 25-1 run against East Marshall.
The Trojans went from eleven down to thirteen up. South Tama led, 33-20, after Fonseca hit with 1:35 to go.
"We defended and we rebounded," explained Hammond. "When you're down ten, the only way you get back in is if the other team doesn't score. We took care of that. As a result, we got those opportunities to score in transition. At that point the snowball started to roll and we shot the ball well."
Evans added four more points before the half to match Kuhter's total of eleven in the quarter. East Marshall scored just four points all from the free-throw line.
South Tama led at the half, 37-22.
Evidently it does not take long to say, "Keep it up," as the Trojans spent only a little more than three minutes in the locker room. Hammond made sure, however, his team did not take things for granted.
"The biggest thing you have to guard against is complacency. We talked about 'be ready for this, and you still have to do this' to be successful and keep our edge. They switched defenses, slowed the game down a little bit, and we didn't get as many opportunities to run."
The two teams played nearly even the rest of the way. With a 15-point lead, that worked out just fine for the Trojans. As the time ticked away, the sense of anticipation was palpable in the student section.
With 2:04 to go in the game and a 48-36 lead, South Tama called a timeout. When Fonseca scored with 1:15 left to make it 50-36, it was just a matter of getting through the fouling and free throws to collect the win.
Kuhter's two free throws with 38 seconds left would be the final score by the Trojans, who now had a 16-point lead, 52-36. A meaningless three-pointer by Walker Steward with seven seconds left made the final score 52-39 in favor of South Tama.
The excited student section rushed the floor. A South Tama team which had been denied eleven times before now had its first win of the season.
"I am so proud of these kids, how they bounced back from Tuesday night," said Hammond. "I told them that's a measure of the high quality of young men they are. They fought back, they did the right things in practice and it carries over. It was a nice win. It was a great night! It was one to enjoy being in the gym! "
Team fouls were even at eleven apiece. The Trojans were 8 of 11 from the line, the Mustangs were 4 of 6.
The Trojans are now 1-11 (1-8) for the season.
South Tama played Hudson in the NICL tournament in Waverly Jan. 14. They travelled to West Marshall Jan. 17 and host South Hardin tomorrow night.
Scoring - Evans 19, Kuhter 17, Fonseca 9, Hopper 7
Rebounds - Fonseca 10, Kuhter 7, Bidwell 6, Evans 6, Hopper 2, Davenport 1, Lowe 1
Assists - Fonseca 4, Hopper 3, Bidwell 2, Davenport 2, Kuhter 1, Evans 1
Steals - Fonseca 3, Hopper 2, Evans 1, Kuhter 1
Blocks - Fonseca 1