DES MOINES - After waiting nearly half a century for a boys basketball state tournament victory, the Laurens-Marathon faithful will be hoping they can pick up a second win today.
However, it won't be an easy task as their opponent in the 10:30AM is none other than last year's 1A champions, Cedar Falls, NUH (20-4).
The Panthers shocked the state when they knocked off Bedford, HLV Victor, and George-Little Rock a year ago. Now they're back and loaded with tournament experience.
Ever the aggressor in regards to the tempo, Cedar Falls NUH goes as many as 12-deep into the bench to keep fresh legs on the court and pressing.
Eddie Diemer leads the charge for the Panthers, averaging 9.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Kyle Denning adds another 9 points and 7 rebounds per night.
The Panthers shot 44% from the field and hit 14-17 free-throws in their opening round victory over previously undefeated Adair-Casey.
In their 58-50 quarterfinal win, Cedar Falls NUH's press defense led to 20 points off turnovers alone.
That will be an area of concern for Laurens-Marathon after Monday's quarterfinal matchup. The Chargers turned the ball over just 6.5 times per game on the road to state, but Notre Dame's press was able to double that amount, forcing 14 on Monday afternoon.
However, The Laurens-Marathon defense was equally impressive as they gave the much-heralded Notre Dame Burlington offense fits all night. A similar effort will be needed against the Panthers.
Led by Adam Woodin (17 points, 7 rebounds) and Ryan Stumbo (12 points, 11 rebounds), the Chargers literally erased any second chance opportunities, outrebounding the Nikes by a margin of 37 to 25.
Tip-off inside Wells Fargo Arena is scheduled for 10:30AM. The winner advances into Friday night's championship game to face either Rock Valley (23-2) or Iowa Mennonite (25-1). The losing team will also play Friday with the consolation final tipping-off at 10AM.