DES MOINES - Nearly fifty years have passed since Laurens-Marathon last sent a boys' team to Des Moines for the annual state tournament back in 1963.
With that kind of intermission between state playoff berths, the 2009 Charger boys know that their time is now, and they let the rest of the state know it Monday afternoon as they shut down Burlington Notre Dame, 47-35.
The matchup between the Nikes and Laurens-Marathon was expected to be a high-scoring affair between two of the most dynamic offenses in Class 1A, but it was the Chargers' defense that proved to be the difference, holding Notre Dame to their lowest scoring output of the season and 30 points below their average.
Baskets were just as hard to come by for Laurens-Marathon in the early going as they went scoreless for nearly five minutes, allowing the Nikes to build a 9-5 advantage early on.
L-M trailed the Nikes 11-9 after the first quarter of play, but the Chargers would open the second quarter with a 10-2 run, holding Notre Dame scoreless for a four-minute span, as they ended the first half leading 19-18.
The momentum stayed in Laurens-Marathon's favor following the break as they opened the second half on a 7-2 run, grabbing a 26-20 edge midway through the third quarter.
In the decisive fourth quarter, the Chargers' offensive sprang to life, outscoring Notre Dame 17-10 over the final eight minutes.
Laurens-Marathon sank 7-11 free-throws down the stretch, ending the game with their largest lead of the afternoon.
Senior Adam Woodin paced the Chargers, scoring 17 points on 7-11 shooting while also pulling down seven rebounds.
Right behind Woodin was Ryan Stumbo, who drilled 8-9 foul shots on his way a 12 point, 11 rebound effort.
Rounding out the scoring for Laurens-Marathon, Caleb Jamison finished with six points, Zach Lovin and Tyler Smith added four apiece, and Brett Wollum finished with two.
As a team, the Chargers hit just 16-43(37%) from the field and 2-8(25%) from long range. They were clutch in the paint however, converting 13-18(72%) foul shots and out-rebounding the Nikes 37-25.
By comparison, Notre Dame was 12-42(29%) from the field and 8-14(57%) at the line.
Heading into Monday's quarterfinal matchup, the Nikes led all of Class 1A with nearly seven threes made per game. The Chargers were able to hold them to just 3-22 from long range.
Andrew Schilling led the Notre Dame with 11 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks. Chris Kirk added eight.
The loss marks the second consecutive year that the Nikes have been bounced from the playoffs following the quarterfinal round. Notre Dame fell to George-Little Rock a year ago. They finish up their 2008-2009 campaign with a final record of 23-4.
Laurens-Marathon (22-2) now gears up for their meeting with defending Class 1A champions Cedar Falls Northern University (20-4).
The eighth-seeded Panthers knocked off top-seed and previously undefeated Adair-Casey by a score of 58-50 in their quarterfinal matchup Monday morning.
Eddie Diemer and Kyle Denning netted 12 points apiece to lead the Panthers.
The bottom half of the bracket saw second seed Iowa Mennonite (24-1) top Ventura (21-3) by a score of 62-46, and third seeded Rock Valley (22-2) made quick work of Villisca (21-3), 77-49.
The Chargers and Panthers are set to tip-off Thursday morning at 10:30AM. The winner advances to Friday night's championship game at 6:05PM, while the loser will plays at 10AM Friday morning in the consolation finals.