The East Mills boys basketball ralled from 16 points down but came up just a little short in a 59-49 Class 1A, District 1 semifinals loss last Tuesday to Council Bluffs St. Albert.
The Falcons, winners of three in a row, came out on fire, jumped on the Wolverines early, and lead 19-3 after a dizzying, fast-paced first quarter.
“They came out shooting very well and we had to get out of our zone defense about three minutes into the game,” said East Mills coach Kevin Schafer. “They were very hot that first quarter. I don’t know if it would have mattered what we did (on defense). They cooled off quite a bit after that but we couldn’t hit anything that first quarter.”
The Wolverines trailed 31-19 at the half but came out after halftime a different team.
Keyed bya 12-6 run to open the second half, East Mills closed to within 37-31. St. Albert led 45-38 after three quarters.
East Mills would make one last gasp of a rally in the fourth. Their 9-4 run trimmed the Falcon lead to 51-47 with three and a half minutes to go. But that is as close they would get. St. Albert would go on an 8-2 run to close out the semifinal win.
“We cut it to four points, we have the ball, miss a three and they get a fast break layup on the other end out of it. They called timeout and we knew they were going to pull the ball out at that point and we went down and missed another shot,” Schafer said. “We made them shoot free throws and they hit them.”
Schafer said he thought his team rebounded nicely from an atrocious first quarter that saw them score three points and commit five turnovers.
“We had 11 turnovers for the game and nearly half are right in the first quarter,” said Coach Schafer. “11 turnovers we consider pretty good and in fact they also had 11 but they beat us pretty good on the boards. They are as aggressive on the board as anybody we’ve seen this year and their on the ball defense is excellent.
“It took us a little bit of time to get used to that and once we did, once we got used to their quickness, I think we played pretty good. We out-scored them the rest of the game.”
East Mills out-scored St. Albert 30-29 after halftime and got a game-high 20 points from Luke Schafer. Colden Hillyer added 12 and Daniel Duysen seven.
“I was very proud of my team,” Coach Schafer said. “To be where were at and comeback to within four points with three and a half minutes to go, I’m very proud of the kids.”
The Wolverines finish their season with a record of 18-5.