The South Tama boys came out ready to play but in the end could not hold off AGWSR February 3 at home, losing 70-52.
The game started out looking as if an upset could be in the making. South Tama jumped out early and hard on the Cougars. Caleb Davenport hit two threes, Jose Fonseca one, and Ricky Hopper one in the first quarter alone. Brad Evans and Sam Kuhter chipped in as well and after one, South Tama was ahead, 21-11.
Coach Lonnie Hammond was pleased with how the kids started out.
South Tama's Sam Kuhter gets off a short jumper in close quarters February 3 against AGWSR. The Trojans got off to a great start but could not hold on, losing to the Cougars, 70-52.
"That first quarter might be the best first quarter we've played all season. The momentum, the effort, the passion -- I can't say enough about how proud I am of my kids."
After being shell-shocked in the first quarter, the Cougars regrouped and began to put together some stops and scores. By midway through the second quarter, the game had already tipped to AGWSR's favor.
South Tama would retie at the 3:16 mark when Kuhter made the back end of a two-shot foul, 24-24. The Trojans would see their last tie of the game with 2:20 to go when Hopper was fouled and converted both free throws, 28-28.
South Tama went in at halftime down, 34-31.
The Trojans tried to stay with Cougars in the third quarter, knocking down three more threes in the process from Fonseca (2) and Hopper. But after three, AGWSR had built the lead up to nine, 53-44.
The Cougars scored and were fouled just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter to give them a twelve point lead, 67-44. It stayed that way through most of the quarter until there were about three minutes left in the game.
Now behind 64-50, the Trojans had to start taking chances and the Cougars went to the line and scored. AGWSR took home a 70-52 win.
Defensively, the Trojans did a nice job of taking away the three from a team that is in the top ten of all teams statewide in three-pointers made. AGWSR is averaging just under seven per game. South Tama limited them to two in the first half and one in the second, while the Trojans sank seven of their own.
Rebounding and free-throw shooting turned out to be the achilles heel for the Trojans as Hammond pointed out.
"This game tonight came down to two very simple fundamentals: rebounding and making free throws. They made their free-throws, we missed ours and they killed us on the offensive rebounding. Seventeen offensive rebounds -- when you give that to your opponent, that's tough."
Hammond knows when the Trojans are on their game, they are a much better team than their record would indicate. In spite of the inconsistencies, he remains very impressed with the team's effort.
"These kids are 1-17, and they came out and played the second best team in the conference dead even for three quarters. The heart that these kids have to keep battling through the long season -- I can't be more proud of them! Amazing effort!"
"I don't care whether you're a team with a few wins or a team with a lot of wins, that's how hard you want your teams to play at the end of the year. And we did that."
South Tama now stands 1-17 (1-12) for the season. he Trojans played at Grinnell Feb. 4 and hosted South Hardin Feb 7.
Scoring - Fonseca 19, Kuhter 13,
Hopper 8, Davenport 6, Evans 6
Rebounds - Fonseca 13,
Kuhter 4, Hopper 3, Evans 2, Bidwell 1
Assists - Kuhter 3, Hopper 2,
Fonseca 2, Davenport 2, Evans 1
Steals - Evans 2, Nelson 1
Blocks - Hopper 1