MOUNT AYR — Upset-minded Lenox appeared to be in position to give Lamoni a run for its money in the second half of Tuesday’s Class 1A District 12 semifinal here.
The Demons are ranked No. 1 in the Radio Iowa poll and third in the Associated Press poll.
But Lamoni started the second half on a 15-0 run on its way to running away with a 60-32 victory over the Tigers.
Lenox, which led much of the first quarter, went into halftime trailing 25-18 as Spencer Brown hit a turnaround jumper with just :01 left in the half.
Tim Brunner quickly scored the first four points of the second half for Lamoni, though, starting the run and causing Lenox to call a timeout.
“They had the 4-0 run, so we called a timeout and tried to stop the bleeding,” Lenox co-coach Jesse Cox said. “And for some reason, it just didn’t happen. We didn’t execute. That’s all they needed right there.
Brunner and Jeremy Deemer scored 12 of the 15 points in the run, which was capped off by a Beau Bjorland 3-pointer.
Brown finally ended the run with an offensive rebound and putback and the free throw for the traditional 3-point play, but the game was out of reach by that point.
Brown led Lenox with 15 points as senior Todd Stoaks added 10 and Caleb Lange finished with seven. No other Tiger players scored in the game.
Lenox got out to a good start, building an 8-5 lead over Lamoni early.
Lange found Stoaks underneath the basket for a pair of buckets and Lange hit a runner of his own.
But, Lange picked up his second foul with 4:18 to go in the first quarter and went to the bench.
Lamoni responded with an 8-0 run to end the first quarter with a 13-8 lead. Lange would pick up a third foul with 6:36 left in the second quarter.
“Caleb’s a pretty good player and against the No. 1 team in the state, we need him on the floor,” Cox said. “And we hung in there a long time without him. Then they kept doing what they do real well. We didn’t adjust. Deemer kept sliding in under our zone and for some reason, our kids kept coming a little higher and letting them slide in there.”
Another problem for Lenox was free throw shooting, as the Tigers shot just 10-of-20 from the free throw line.
“We made a couple of runs, but our free throw shooting was atrocious tonight,” Cox said. “We’d been shooting at a 65 to 70 percent clip lately. You’re not going to beat a good team doing that.”
Lenox finishes the season 14-9. Lamoni improved to 23-0 and advances to Thursday’s district final in Mount Ayr against Murray.
“Fourteen wins, that’s pretty good for Lenox,” Cox said. “New style with coach (Steve Tussey) coming down and helping this year. It took us a while to get it going, but we won eight of 10. Spencer and Caleb came on. Todd Stoaks a senior, by far, had his best season. He can finish well. Dustin Gordon is a great leader. He led us in assists and we had a good team.”
LAMONI (60) — Jeremy Deemer 10 3-6 23, Tim Brunner 8 1-2 17, Beau Bjorland 3 0-0 8, Drew Radloff 3 0-1 6, Caleb Heltenberg 2 0-0 4, William Ansong 1 0-0 2. Totals — 27 4-7 60. 3-point goals — 2 (Bjorland 2). Team fouls — 18. Fouled out — None.
LENOX (32) — Spencer Brown 6 3-8 15, Todd Stoaks 4 2-4 10, Caleb Lange 1 5-8 7. Totals — 11 10-20 32. 3-point goals — none. Team fouls — 12. Fouled out — None.
Lamoni — 13 25 42 60
Lenox — 8 18 22 32