DES MOINES — Guard Dan Stensland scored 14 points and Waverly-Shell Rock pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Harlan 48-41 Saturday night and win the Class 3A boys state basketball championship.
UNI recruit Klinton Carlson added 13 points and Jake Velky 11 for the Go-Hawks (23-4), who held Harlan without a field goal for 8 1/2 minutes while taking control of the game and claiming its third state title.
Velky was 3-of-4 on 3-pointers in the first half as W-SR took a 24-21 lead at intermission.
“We were up 19-11, then they go on a 13-2 run and I think Velky hit three threes during that run,” Harlan coach Mitch Osborn said. “We had some miscommunication and didn’t switch on the screens a couple of times. We took care of that in the second half, but we just could not get a bucket to fall from the perimeter whatsoever.”
Waverly-Shell Rock (23-4) kept the game at a deliberate pace and it proved to be the right tactic in slowing down Harlan, which shot only 6-21 from 3-point range.
“We were 0-4 in free throws when we were in that cold stretch,” Osborn said. “In a low possession game, those were important. Against Atlantic we were 14-14 at the line, tonight we’re 7-13. But nobody is out there trying to miss them. They’re doing the best they can.”
Harlan (20-7) was seeded eighth in the eight-team field but fought its way into the finals with upsets of top-seeded Vinton-Shellsburg and fifth-seeded MOC-Floyd Valley.
Gabe Ferry and Trey Lansman each scored 14 points to lead Harlan. Lansman and Adam Juhl made the all-tournament team. Carlson was selected captain of the unit that also included Trey Achterhoff of MOC-Floyd Valley and Davenport Assumption’s Billy Daniel.
The only seniors on the Cyclone team are point guard Nate Kloewer, who drew two key defensive assignments in the semifinals and finals, and reserves Jake Daeges and Brandon Bjoin. Osborn said his young team peaked late in the season.
“We made a great run,” Osborn said. “They stepped up. Our identity became our defense. We had to, because we are not a high-octane offense. Some nights we’re pretty good on offense and other nights we struggle. But we have the trophy in our case.”
Finishing fourth in the rugged Hawkeye 10 this season behind Atlantic, Creston and Carroll Kuemper Catholic was good preparation for the postseason run, which included a substate victory over Atlantic after knocking off Carroll.
“Atlantic is as good as any team we’ve played down here,” Osborn said. “Creston is right there, and obviously Kuemper. All four of those top four teams would compete with everybody statewide that was here.”
Kuemper took third in Class 2A with an 80-52 win over MFL-Mar Mac. The Knights had a 27-4 rebounding advantage in the second half and 48-16 for the game. Kuemper won the 2A Sportsmanship trophy and center Sam Brincks was named to the all-tournament team.
Brad Baudler of Nodaway Valley was presented the Class 2A Iowa Bankers Association/High School Athletic Association Student Athletes/Achiever’s Award.