The entire game was an uphill battle for the Garner-Hayfield/Ventura boys basketball team when they faced Forest City on Thursday, Feb. 14, in the second round of the Class 2A District Basketball Tournament. The Cardinals had a bye in the first round.
“We knew we had our hands full playing Forest City,” said Coach Joe Albertson. “They have a number of consistent shooters from deep and a couple of active posts.”
G-H/V’s offense kept pace with the Indians in the first quarter, 12-12. The Cardinals had some momentum at the beginning of the second quarter when they managed six straight points, but that’s when it ended. From there it was a constant battle for the Cards to even the score.
G-H/V was down by six, but was able to cut the deficit to two by halftime, 23-21. Once again the Cards found themselves down by six in the third quarter, but battled back to close the gap to within one point. In the fourth quarter the team trailed by five, but tied it up with two minutes remaining in the game on an Austin Kropp three-point play.
“The boys showed the same resilience that they displayed during the year, but we just didn’t have any answer in the last minute to pull off another comeback,” said Albertson.
The Cardinals fell to the Indians, 57-48.
Kropp led the team on both offense and defense. He collected 15 points and had eight rebounds.
Joel Toppin also had a good night with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot.
Rounding out the scoring was Braden Meints with seven points, Zach Buseman and Heath Hutcheson each had six points, and Jake Wolf had four points.
Other rebounding leaders included Buseman with seven and Meints, Hutcheson and Alex Van Gerpen all had three rebounds.
Van Gerpen led the team in assists with four. Meints and Wolf each had three assists.
The G-H/V team said good-bye to five seniors, Zach Buseman, Nathan Hrubes, Heath Hutcheson, Austin Kropp and Alex Van Gerpen.
“Even though we ended the season with a loss, which will be on our minds, the boys did accomplish some great things led by our five seniors,” said Albertson.
The G-H/V boys ended their season with a 17-5 record and were champions of the North Iowa Conference.