Gaels fall short
WEBSTER CITY – A 14th state tournament trip appeared to be in the cards for the St. Edmond boys here Monday night.
In an instant, it was all taken away, as South Hamilton rallied for a 58-53 overtime victory in a Class 2A substate final.
The Hawks (21-3 overall) will face Western Dubuque (21-3) in the state quarterfinals next Monday night in Des Moines at 8:15 p.m.
For the Gaels (17-7), the bitter taste of defeat was a tough pill to swallow.
After seeing a late lead fall by the wayside, South Hamilton outscored St. Edmond 13-8 in the extra session, as Trevor Ullestad tallied seven points himself.
Ullestad finished with a team-high 18, while Collin Hill added 15. Senior Ross Enderson scored nine – all in the fourth quarter when the Hawks rallied – after entering the game averaging just 3.9 a night.
Of Ullestad’s overtime points, none were bigger than the three-pointer he hit with 45 seconds left and South Hamilton up by one.
“In that situation, we want him taking that shot,” SEHS head coach Adolph Kochendorfer said. “Credit him, and the rest of the Hawks, because they stepped up and made big-time plays and shots when they needed them.
“We had our chances in the fourth, we just couldn’t get that next basket to put it out of reach.”
Robby Burke finished his St. Edmond career with another double-double, registering 20 points and 14 rebounds. Landon Peed added 15, including three triples, while Matthew Bocken contributed seven points, seven boards and four assists.
“Robby had another outstanding effort, and I thought Landon did a great job carrying us in the first half (Peed scored nine in the opening 16 minutes),” Kochendorfer said. “Matthew gave us some solid games here late in the season and we really have a strong group to build upon (next year).
“But right now – in this moment – it’s tough to deal with a loss like this. It’s a game we felt we had won and we didn’t seal the deal.”
Despite seeing a four-point lead evaporate late, the Gaels would have have made it to overtime without a basket by Burke with just two seconds left.
Sophomore Harrison Mayer put St. Edmond up 47-45 in the extra session, but South Hamilton reeled off the next six points, taking a lead they would never surrender.
“I really thought if we could have gotten one more bucket to fall when we were up four we would have won,” Kochendorfer said. “Our kids left it all out there on the floor and I’m proud of the season we had.”
The Hawks came into the game having hit 175 three-pointers this year and put that shooting on display, swishing 10 of 28 triples.
For Burke, Konrad Laufersweiler and Austin Borer, this marked the end of the road.
“Those three contributed so much more than just points or rebounds,” Kochendorfer said. “They were excellent leaders. They took the younger guys in and really helped them grow as the season went on.
“Anything we do in the next couple of years will have had a lot to do with the attitude these seniors brought to our team.”
South Hamilton will be making its sixth appearance in the elite eight. The Hawks last qualified in 1991 and have finished second twice.