The Iowa Lakes men's season came to an abrupt end Wednesday with the Lakers' second loss at the NJCAA-Division II National Tournament.
Iowa Lakes led 28-27 in the first half when they went cold against top-ranked Mott Community. The Bears went on a 20-0 run from the end of the first half, through the start of the second half to lead 47-28.
Iowa Lakes fought back to within two points late in the game, but couldn't get that one extra stop or basket. Mott players made their free throws to seal a 73-68 victory.
Josh Schaben (44), a 6-8 sophomore from Harlan, scored 31 points in two games at the NJCAA-Division II National Tournament, but Iowa Lakes’ season came to an end with a 73-68 loss to top-ranked Mott Community College on Wednesday.
EDN file photo
"We've got good character guys and they'll fight to the end," said Iowa Lakes coach Troy Larson after the game. "It's a disappointed lockerroom, because we didn't come here just to fight."
The loss is especially tough after Tuesday's two-point loss to Owens Community College and that it ends the Lakers' season.
Larson said in the first game, his team started playing more individually at the end.
"Today we played as a unit throughout the whole game," he said. "But through the last 5 minutes of the first half and the first 5 minutes of the second half, we just dug ourselves to deep a hole."
Iowa Lakes got off to a good start Wednesday, jumping out to a 16-7 lead.
But Mott started knocking down shots and pulled past the Lakers at 19-18.
A seesaw battle ensued with the Lakers taking their last lead when Kelly Madison drove baseline and hit a reverse layup for a 28-27 advantage.
That's when the Bears began a 12-0 run to end the half that included five points from 6-2 freshman guard Malik Albert to lead 39-28 at the break.
Mott then scored the first eight points of the second half until Josh Schaben finally broke the drought with a three-point play. Kevin Larson followed with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 13, 47-34.
But the lead didn't get to singles digits until the Lakers hit consecutive 3-pointers, the second by Tate Harmon, to cut the deficit to 54-48 with 11:30 left in the game.
Iowa Lakes kept the deficit to single digits the rest of the way and finally got within two, 64-62, on two free throws by Kelly Madison with 3:11 remaining.
But Mott kept making their free throws and the Lakers trailed 72-66 with 30 seconds remaining.
Schaben had a chance at a thee-point play after making a layup with 18 seconds left, but missed the free throw as Iowa Lakes trailed 72-68.
Both teams finished with 28 field goals and six 3-pointers, but Mott was 11-of-17 from the free throw line compared to the Lakers' 6-of-11.
Deondre Parks and Schaben led the Lakers with 14 points apiece while Madison and Deondre Parks each had 12. Larson and Harmon each had six points, and Colton Neff and Mark Miedema each had two. Miedema had a team-high five rebounds. Madison had three assists and Larson had two steals.
Albert led Mott with 20 points while Devin Foster had 14.
Iowa Lakes wraps up its season with a 26-8 record.