DES MOINES — Carroll Kuemper Catholic won the rematch with Nodaway Valley here Tuesday in the Class 2A quarterfinals, upsetting the second-seeded Wolverines 61-54, avenging a 64-60 loss in the regular season finale.
“Their mantra was, we’re going to beat everybody who beat us in the regular season,” Nodaway Valley head coach Darrell Burmeister said. “This was their third strike. Our mantra was, we’re going to be a tough third strike. We’re going to do whatever it takes to stay up at the plate, and I thought we did that pretty good. They were motivated that way.”
Nodaway Valley finishes the season with a mark of 23-2, while Kuemper moves on to face third-seeded Sheldon in the semifinals at 3:45 p.m. Thursday.
The difference, Burmeister and senior point guard Brad Baudler agreed, was rebounding.
The Knights, now 18-8 overall, outrebounded Nodaway Valley 37-27, and finished the game with 16 offensive rebounds.
Burmeister said his top three keys coming into the game were rebounding, rebounding and rebounding.
On Kuemper’s first possession of the second half, Cole Neary rebounded his own miss three straight times before finally putting the ball in the hoop to tie the game up at 29-29.
“We talked about how important rebounding was, and we start out that third quarter and they get three offensive rebounds that first time and I called timeout, tried to challenge them a little bit,” Burmeister said. “Part of it, not trying to knock our conference or anything, but we got by without blocking out. Now it’s time to start blocking out. It doesn’t work like that.”
Kuemper outscored Nodaway Valley 21-11 in that third quarter, scoring 12 points in the paint compared to Nodaway Valley’s two.
Kuemper hit three big 3-pointers in the third quarter to help extend the lead, including two by Carter Ludwig and one by Chris Halbur.
The Wolverines had also been hampered by foul trouble in the first half, with Alex Welsch and TJ Bower each picking up three fouls in the first half.
With that foul trouble, Kuemper pounded the ball inside, especially to Sam Brincks, who shot 11-of-23 for the game with 24 points.
“That was the game plan, especially when we got Bower and Welsch with their three fouls,” Kuemper head coach Tyler Edwards said. “We really wanted to bang it in. when he caught it inside, he just made plays for us today. He (Brincks) made some big shots and some big free throws down the stretch.”
The Knights scored 34 points in the paint for the game.
Welsch made a big difference in the game before his foul trouble, having six blocked shots before picking up his third foul. He finished with eight for the game.
“We were in a matchup zone, so we just kind of replaced the people,” Burmeister said about dealing with the foul trouble. “We had to bring our strongest guard down to the baseline, whether it’s Dean Frank or Zach Plymesser. What you do is you try to bring your beef down low. Whoever is your strongest guard out there has to go down there and then you’re giving up a big height advantage down there.”
Kuemper took a 12-point lead at 50-38 on the first possession of the fourth quarter.
But, Nodaway Valley stormed back to cut the lead to 52-49 with 5:00 left.
The run started when Welsch took the ball near halfcourt on a press break, dribbled into the lane and soared for a thunderous dunk.
Following the dunk, Baudler tipped a pass and took it the length of the court for a layup and free throw attempt.
It spurred an 11-2 run for the Wolverines.
Increased defensive pressure and pushing the ball up the floor also helped Nodaway Valley get back into the game.
“The whole game I kind of stayed back and didn’t really pressure the ball because they had so much beef down low,” Baudler said. “I started pressuring the ball and got a tip on a ball, got the steal and an and-one, that just kind of spurred us on. I was like, alright, I gotta get it going. That was one of the mistakes I think I had. I should have pushed the ball a lot more in the game.”
But the Wolverines were not able to get any closer than three points over the course of the final 5:00.
It marked the final game for four senior starters in Baudler, Welsch, Dean Frank and Dan Ehrsam, and the final game for five senior reserves in Matt Jensen, Chisum Downing, Jake Speer, Colton Graham and Tim Hansen.
Welsch led the way in his final game, scoring 16 points with 12 rebounds and eight blocks. Baudler and Frank each scored 11 points and Ehrsam finished with three.
“We walked through all the buildings yesterday,” Burmeister said. “We’d never done that before, but we had to drive to Fontanelle west to get to the middle school and those kids were crazy. Then our middle school, those kids were great.
“Our elementary kids were looking up when we went through the lines, but they were looking up for two reasons,” Burmeister continued, emotionally. “Our kids were taller than they were, but they were looking up because they’re great role models, and that’s one of the things we’re really going to miss with these seniors. They’re great role models.”
KUEMPER CATHOLIC (61) — Sam Brincks 11 2-3 24, Cole Neary 5 3-4 13, Chris Halbur 3 2-2 10, Carter Ludwig 2 0-0 6, Riley Bach 2 2-2 6, Alex Drees 1 0-0 2. Totals — 24 9-11 61. 3-point goals — 4 (Ludwig 2, Halbur 2). FG shooting — 24-51 (47.1 percent). Rebounds — 37 (Halbur 10, Brincks 9, Bach 8, Neary 6). Assists — Bach 10. Turnovers — 12. Team fouls — 12. Fouled out — None.
NODAWAY VALLEY (54) — Alex Welsch 6 4-6 16, Brad Baudler 4 1-1 11, Dean Frank 4 0-0 11, TJ Bower 5 0-0 11, Dan Ehrsam 1 0-0 3, Zach Plymesser 1 0-0 2. Totals — 21 5-7 54. 3-point goals — 7 (Frank 3, Baudler 2, Ehrsam 1, Bower 1). FG shooting — 21-55 (38.2 percent). Rebounds — 27 (Welsch 12, Bower 10, Ehrsam 3). Assists — 7
(Baudler 4, Frank 2). Steals — 6 (Bower 3, Frank 2). Blocked shots — 8 (Welsch 8). Turnovers — 9. Team fouls — 15. Fouled out — Bower.
KC — 12 27 48 61
NV — 18 27 38 54