The South Tama boys basketball team suffered its fourteenth loss of the season, dropping a 12-point decision at home to Wapsie Valley January 25.
The Warriors hit four threes and a pair of free throws to take a 14-0 lead with 3:42 to go in the first quarter. Hammond was not surprised.
"We knew coming in that Wapsie Valley was going to take a lot of three's. They made eleven. Over half of their points were from outside the arc."
South Tama's Jose Fonseca drives for a layup against Wapsie Valley January 24. Fonseca led all scorers with 22 points. It was not enough, as the Trojans lost to the Warriors, 63-51.
The Trojans ended up playing the final 28 minutes of the game even with Wapsie Valley.
"We played really good basketball for three quarters. Just keeping score from the second quarter, we win by five," remarked coach Lonnie Hammond. "It's tough. When you start out after the first quarter down a lot, you have to expend a lot of energy to catch up."
Jose Fonseca would finally get South Tama on the board with 3:29 left to make it 14-2, Warriors. Brad Evans would add two more buckets, but Wapsie Valley led after the first quarter, 23-6.
By mid-second quarter, STC had fallen behind further, 31-10. With 3:01 to go, Fonseca sparked an end of quarter run that would get the Trojans to within twelve. Fonseca hit consecutive threes at 3:01, 2:27 and 1:59.
Hammond recognized the fight in his players.
"We fought back. A lot of times teams that are down -- and the first quarter was really ragged -- a lot of times teams will just put their heads down and go through the motions. I thought the kids fought hard and they just kept battling. That's a testament to them."
Nick Gaul finally answered with a three for the Warriors. Wapsie Valley tried to play for the last shot, but the Trojans rebounded with just four ticks left. Sam Kuhter worked his way down the floor and swished an NBA-three at the buzzer to make it 34-22, Warriors, at the half.
After the break, South Tama cut the lead to just seven after Fonseca scored and then Evans followed with a three, 34-27.
Every time the Trojans would get a bit of a run going, Wapsie Valley seemed to wake up and stop it. With two minutes left in the third, the Warriors had built the lead back up to nineteen, 48-29.
But in the last 24 seconds of the quarter, Kuhter hit a three and Fonseca scored to close the gap to 48-34 after three periods.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Trojans began another run. After Kuhter and Fonseca scored, STC trailed by just ten, 48-38.
Again, Wapsie Valley answered, and when the score reached 56-41 with 4:21 to go, South Tama called a timeout.
After the timeout, South Tama scored seven unanswered points, starting with a three by Fonseca (4:03), a bucket by Evans (3:28) and another basket by Fonseca. Fonseca led all scorers with 22 points. With 3:01 to go, the Trojans were clearly still in the game, 56-48.
With 2:21 to go, Ricky Hopper nailed a three, and it was a new game, 56-51. South Tama got a turnover with the chance to close it to three or two points, but turned the ball back over again. The Warriors called a timeout with 2:04 left.
Once again, Wapsie Valley responded, and Steve Stoner's bucket made it a seven point game, 58-51 -- a four or five point swing -- with 1:51 left. The Warriors ended up scoring the last seven points of the game to take home the win, 63-51.
"We did some nice things. We just need to come out and play a game where we play four quarters," summed up Hammond.
South Tama was three for four from the line and was called for 15 fouls. Wapsie Valley was 10 for 17 with 13 team fouls.
The Trojans travelled Jan. 27 to Conrad to play BCLUW. The 1-14 (1-9) Trojans are in Reinbeck tonight to play Gladbrook-Reinbeck.
Scoring -- Fonseca 22, Evans 14, Kuhter 12, Hopper 3
Rebounds -- Evans 5, Fonseca 4, Davenport 3, Hopper 3, Bidwell 2, Kuhter 2, Nelson 1
Assists -- Kuhter 4, Nelson 3, Davenport 2, Fonseca 2, Evans 1, Hopper 1
Steals -- Fonseca 1, Nelson 1
Blocks -- Fonseca 2, Cecak 1, Fonseca 1, Kuhter 1