Storm Lake St. Mary's boys basketball coach Brad Wilkening said before Monday night's Class 1A, district tourney that it would be nice to somehow get another shot at Northwest Conference champion Alta.
Thanks to a gutty performance by his team at the Ñewell-Fonda gym, the first-year coach will get his wish.
Panther senior Andy Dahm, a 6-3 post player, scored a game-high 20 points and added 10 rebounds, leading his team to a 66-56 over Laurens-Marathon.
"We've been improving a lot towards the end of this season, and I hope it shows in tournaments," Wilkening said before Monday's game.
"We've come close to winning some games, and the way I see it, there is no real dominant team in our district. At least that gives us a shot."
The Panthers will now play Alta in Newell Wednesday in a district quarterfinal game.
Meanwhile, Monday night, the Panthers led most of the way, including 17-15 after one quarter, 34-29 at the half and 49-44 at the last break.
St. Mary's finished strong, outscoring the Chargers 17-12 in the fourth quarter for the final margin.
Two other St. Mary's players reached double figures. Senior guard Abe Flanigan and Jimmy Steward each scored 11 points while guard T.J. Miller added nine.
The Panthers played it physical, outrebounding the Chargers 32-25.
Mitch Erickson led Laurens-Marathon with 20 points, including four three-pointers.
Josh Gunnarson added 14 and Travis Leuer ten.
St. Mary's and Alta will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, while at 8 p.m., Newell-Fonda meets offensive-minded Schaller-Crestland.
Sioux Central 60,
Manson NW Webster 57
Sioux Central held off Manson Northwest Webster in this Class 2A, District 3 quarterfinal thanks to some tough defense and some clutch shots from the line down the stretch.
Manson went into the game as a heavy underdog and with just four wins on the season.
But guard Tony Benike was on fire from three-point land, hitting seven three-pointers to keep his team in the game. He finished with a game-high 21 points.
Manson held a one point lead at one juncture late in the fourth quarter, but Sioux Central's Cole Buchholz made one of two free throws with 43 seconds remaining for a tie at 57.
Rebel Josh Dahlin rebounded the miss of Buchholz' second free throw, and was fouled. He then made one of two for a 58-57 Sioux Central lead.
The Rebels got a stop on the other end, and guard Chet Hartwell was fouled with just 3.6 seconds left.
He calmly made two free throws for the final margin. Manson got a half court shot off but it missed by a wide margin as the buzzer sounded.
With the win, the Rebels improved to 9-10 on the season and advanced to the district semifinals. They'll meet Emmetsburg Wednesday at Okoboji. The E-Hawks routed Okoboji-Milford 83-49 in their district quarterfinal in Milford Monday night.
Monday night, Sioux Central led after every quarter break, including 13-10 after one quarter, 32-25 at the half and 40-37 at the last break. Both teams scored 20 points in an offensive-oriented fourth quarter.
Sioux Central was led by a balanced scoring attack, as Tyler Walker and Dahlin each netted 16 points and Mark Thompson hit for ten points. Buchholz added nine points for the winners.
Free throws were also a key as Sioux Central made 13 of 20 and Manson eight of 12.
LEMARS - Despite 29 points from senior off-guard Logan Masters, the Storm Lake High boys basketball team dropped a 64-54 decision to Lakes Conference foe LeMars her Friday night.
Masters hit four three-pointers, five two-pointers and was seven of nine from the free throw line.
The game was a preview of next Monday night's 3A Region quarterfinal game in Storm Lake.
Friday night, the game was close throughout the first half, but LeMars outscored SLHS 22-14 in the third quarter to take a 51-41 lead into the fourth quarter.
Both teams scored 13 points in the fourth quarter.
The only other Storm Lake player in double figures was 6-foot-6 senior Derrick Randall, who netted 12 points.
Tim Claussen led the Bulldogs with 23 points while Jared Clement was held to just 12 points. Bryan Borchers, a 6-4 junior, picked up the slack with 16 points, while Zach Strub added double figures with ten points.
SL junior Aaron Clausen pulled down a team high eight