Alta guard Tyler Boyd scored a game-high 25 points here Monday night, as the Alta boys basketball team continued its magical season with a 58-54 win over Newell-Fonda in a Class 1A., District 3 semifinal game.
With the win, the Cyclones improved to 19-3 and advanced to the district finals. Thursday night at Sioux Central High in Sioux Rapids, Alta will take on conference rival Pomeroy-Palmer in the district finals, with the winner advancing to substate.
The game went just as first-year Alta coach Bart Smith figured it would.
"We knew it was going to be a game of scoring runs," Smith said after the game. "Both teams had their share of runs, but we were fortunate to have the last one and hold on after that."
Alta point guard Brad Payne added 12 points and added eight rebounds while Kylor Cone came off the bench to record nine crucial points.
"Depth has been a real positived factor for us this season," Smith added. "I thought Kylor came in and gave us a big lift off the bench."
The Cyclones did exactly what they wanted to early - get a lead to gain momentum and take the crowd out of the game. They led 16-8 after one quarter, but the Mustangs outscored Alta 19-9 in the second quarter for a 27-25 N-F lead at the half.
The Mustangs led 40-38 after three frames, but Alta had just enough in the fourth quarter, outscoring N-F 20-14 for the four-point win.
According to Smith, his post player, Derek Lietz, made the game's crucial play. Leading 58-56, Newell-Fonda's Brent Sexton attempted a two-point shot to tie the score, but Lietz blocked the shot cleanly and came up with the ball with ten seconds left. He was fouled immediately and hit two clutch free throws on the other end to make it a two-possession game at 58-54.
"After Drew made the free throws, I finally thought we had the game in hand," added coach Smith. Buchholz and Peter Olsen each led the Mustangs with 13 points, while forward Travis Wells added ten. Newell-Fonda ended the season with a 12-11 mark.
Now, Smith and his team will focus on Pomeroy-Palmer, which upended Sac City in Sac City Monday night 72-44. Alta swept the Knights this season, beating them once by 19 and again by 33.
"It's going to be a much tougher game this time," Smith said.