DENISON - The Laurens-Marathon boys' basketball team is state tournament-bound for the first time in nearly five decades following their 68-51 handling of Arcadia-Westside-Vail in the Class 1A substate final in Denison.
For the third straight playoff game, the lethal Charger attack connected on over half of it's shot attempts. They managed 49% in the playoff opener against Newell-Fonda. The seventh-ranked Laurens-Marathon boys were firing on all cylinders, nailing 28-51 (55%) from the field and 7-14 from deep.
Laurens-Marathon committed just seven turnovers on the night, making it four straight playoff games with seven turnovers or less.
Ryan Stumbo led four different Chargers in double figures, finishing with 15 points and 15 rebounds against the Rockets. Bret Wollum finished with 13 points, three rebounds, and three assists.
Adam Woodin nailed a pair of threes on his way to a 12-point night, and Caleb Jamison was 5-7 from the field on his way to 11 points. Tyler Smith and Zach Lovin added eight and seven points, respectively.
With the win, Laurens-Marathon (21-2) clinches their third state tournament berth and their first since 1962 when the Chargers fell to Cedar Rapids Regis in the championship game.
Laurens-Marathon was just a game away from earning a berth in the tournament last seson, falling to the eventual runner-up in Class 1A, George-Little Rock, in the substate final, 55-51.
The Chargers have to like their chances heading into Des Moines next week with their only losses on the season coming at the hands of 2A opponents in Sioux Central (34-41) and East Sac (59-53).
Also, experience certainly won't be an issue for the Laurens-Marathon boys as they start five seniors with another three logging significant minutes off the bench.
Laurens-Marathon topped Newell-Fonda, Alta, and Galva-Holstein to reach the substate finale. The Chargers breezed through relatively easily, winning the four games by an average of 17 points.
The Chargers' first round opponent is yet to be determined, but their first game will take place Monday, March 9th at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines with the semifinal round to follow Thursday and the finals on Friday.
Cedar Falls NU topped George Little Rock in the 1A Championship last season, 49-44.