CRESTON — Nodaway Valley closed out a hard-fought 56-47 win over Interstate 35 here on Feb. 19 in front of a packed house in the Creston High School gymnasium.
After Interstate 35 freshman Jaylan White knocked down a deep 3-pointer from the wing to cut Nodaway Valley’s lead to 44-42 with 5:00 to go in the fourth quarter, the Roadrunners had back-to-back possessions with good looks at 3-pointers — one that would have given I-35 a one-point lead, and the other that would have cut Nodaway Valley’s lead to one after a pair of Dean Frank free throws.
“I told them, they’re (NV) a great team, and you’ve got to hit your shots during the big moments,” Interstate 35 head coach Nate Rankin said. “It just didn’t seem like we hit those shots tonight. We had good looks.”
Two free throws from Jaylan White with 1:46 cut Nodaway Valley’s lead back to four points at 48-44, but the Wolverines made eight straight free throws over the final minute-plus to put the game away.
Nodaway Valley shot 17-of-21 from the free throw line for the game and 15-of-17 in the fourth quarter.
“We take care of the ball pretty well and you saw that again in the fourth quarter,” Nodaway Valley head coach Darrell Burmeister said. “We were 15-of-17 in the fourth quarter, and that’s a high school team. Any time you make 15-of-17 free throws in the fourth quarter ... “
The two teams went shot for shot in a first half that had both fan bases excited for its team’s baskets.
Both teams came out firing from 3-point land as each team hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter alone, as the two teams finished knotted at 15-15.
After Dean Frank opened the second quarter with a pair of free throws to put the Wolverines up 17-15, Jaylan White knocked down a 3-pointer to give Interstate 35 an 18-17 lead.
Alex Welsch responded with a hook shot for Nodaway Valley and Jamal White answered with a 3-pointer, putting the Roadrunners up 21-19.
It was the last lead of the game for Interstate 35, but the game remained tight until the final minute-plus.
Jaylan and Jamal White combined to score 18 of Interstate 35’s 23 first-half points. The two quick guards combined to score all 24 of the team’s second-half points, accumulating 42 of the team’s 47 for the game. They knocked down eight of the team’s nine 3-pointers.
“I35 has a great team,” Burmeister said. “They’re the team that matches up really well with us, quickness wise and size wise. Jaylan White and Jamal White, they don’t usually shoot that well from the three, but they did tonight, and they made nine threes altogether. Second half we did a little better defending the three.”
Welsch and Frank led the Wolverines with 21 and 16 points, respectively.
Interstate 35 closes out the season with a mark of 18-5. After dropping its first two games of the season, its only other losses came to Murray and twice to Nodaway Valley.
Nodaway Valley advanced to the Class 2A state tournament with a 64-61 substate final win over North Polk on Saturday.
Ranking noted that his group of six seniors went from winning one game their entire middle school careers to going 18-5 overall and 15-1 in Pride of Iowa Conference play as seniors.
Seniors on the Interstate 35 team were Mitchell Morris, Mitchell Vipond, Colton Clark, Nick Schaffer, Travis Thornburgh and Michael McKinney.
INTERSTATE 35 (47) — Jaylan White 9 6-6 28, Jamal White 5 0-0 14, Mitchell Morris 1 0-0 3, Colton Clark 1 0-0 2. Totals — 16 6-6 47. 3-point goals — 9 (Jaylan White 4, Jamal White 4, Morris 1). Team fouls — 15. Fouled out — None.
NODAWAY VALLEY (56) — Alex Welsch 7 7-11 21, Dean Frank 3 8-8 16, TJ Bower 3 0-0 8, Dan Ehrsam 2 2-2 6, Brad Baudler 2 0-0 5. Totals — 17 17-21 56. 3-point goals — 5 (Bower 2, Frank 2, Baudler 1). Team fouls — 7. Fouled out — None.
I-35 — 15 23 34 47
NV — 15 25 39 56