What sometimes may seem like an impossible task, can actually be accomplished with a “never give up attitude.” The Garner-Hayfield/Ventura boys basketball team proved just that when they topped number nine rated North Iowa on the road Tuesday night, Dec. 17.
“North Iowa posed a matchup problem for us and they are very balanced,” said Coach Joe Albertson. “Early in the game we had trouble matching up, shooting the ball and possessing the ball.”
The Cardinals fought hard in the second quarter to close a nine point deficit to two, before the Bison powered ahead and took a 12 point lead into the half, 31-19.
G-H/V regrouped after halftime and outscored North Iowa, 16-13, in the third quarter. After a Joel Toppin bucket and Zach Buseman hitting a three-pointer, the momentum of the game switched.
Down nine points heading into the fourth quarter, the Cardinals picked up the hustle. Spencer Shaw tied it up in the fourth quarter, but the Bison answered that with a three. Joel Toppin, who carried the scoring load in the third quarter returned the favor and a hit of his own. A defensive stop gave the Cards another opportunity. The game came down to the wire with Heath Hutcheson hitting Braden Meints for the game winning basket, 51-49.
“I was really proud of how the guys battled throughout the game. It was a win we needed to build confidence for big games after the holidays,” said Albertson.
Toppin led the team with 18 points. Buseman and Shaw scored eight and seven points respectively, while Hutcheson added six and Meints, Austin Kropp and Jake Wolf all had four points.
Meints was the rebounding leader with nine boards. Buseman and Kropp each had four rebounds.
Alex Van Gerpen led the team in assists with four and Meints added three. Kropp had two blocked shots.
The Cardinals head into the holiday break with a 3-1 record in the North Iowa Conference. They are tied with North Iowa for second place. Belmond-Klemme is undefeated and leads the conference.