The Alta junior varsity boys basketball team will enter 2002 with a record of 5-2 after winning three of its last four games.
The Cyclones defeated Newell-Fonda, Lakeland and Odebolt-Arthur, while suffering its only loss of the past three weeks to Okoboji in the Okoboji Tournament on Dec. 8.
* Alta 46, Newell-Fonda 45 (OT)
After squandering a nine-point lead late in the game, the Alta junior varsity squad came back to defeat Newell-Fonda, 46-45, in overtime.
The Cyclones were down by one at halftime, 20-19, but opened up a nine-point lead midway through the second half.
The Mustangs used a late rally, including a three-point shot at the buzzer, to send the game into an extra period, but Alta hung on to win by the slimmest of margins in overtime.
Nate Hinkeldey led the Cyclones with 11 points, while Nick Nesbitt and Justin DeMan finished with eight points each.
DeMan led the team with eight rebounds, while Hinkeldey, Nesbitt, Jon Francis and Heath Stille all had five boards. Nesbitt also passed the ball well, finishing with five assists.
Junior varsity head coach Grant Bousum said he was happy with the way his team performed in the extra period, as he said they were able to overcome the disappointment of allowing the Mustangs to come back and win the game with critical shots in overtime.
"Anytime we can beat a team with the talent of Newell-Fonda we should be very happy," Bousum said. "We really had control of the game late in the second half, but Newell-Fonda just wouldn't go down without a fight. I was very pleased with how our team responded in the overtime to win the game."
* Okoboji Tournament
* Alta 76, Lakeland 19
Alta controlled the first of two games they would play at the Okoboji Tournament from the very beginning, as they raced out to a 42-8 lead at the half and won by a final score of 76-19.
The Cyclones had four players score in double figures, as Stille had 19, Steve Hamer has 18, DeMan finished with 14 and Thomas Allerdings contributed 10 points.
Hamer led the Cyclones on the boards with eight rebounds, while Stille had five and DeMan, Allerdings and Francis each plucked four rebounds off the glass.
Nesbitt led the way with six assists, while Allerdings and Francis dished out five and four assists, respectively.
* Okoboji 61, Alta 47
In the second game, Alta faced much stiffer competition against the host team, Okoboji, and lost the contest, 61-47.
The Cyclones trailed Okoboji after one period, 14-9, and were down at the break, 30-25. Okoboji opened the lead to 46-35 after three quarters, and won the game by 14 points.
Steve Hamer was the only Alta player to score in double digits with 14 points, and also led the team in rebounds with seven.
Francis and DeMan each had nine and eight points, respectively, for the Cyclones.
Despite the loss, Bousum said he was happy with the team's performance, especially coming off a draining win over Newell-Fonda the night before.
"Overall, I was pleased with the way we played in the weekend tournament," Bousum said. "We won two out of three games within a 24-hour time period, and I think we lost our legs a little in the second game against Okoboji and really did not make a real run at them. Okoboji is a good ballclub and took us out of some of the things we wanted to do."
* Alta 77, Odebolt-Arthur 51
After one week off, the team faced Odebolt-Arthur on Dec. 15, and exploded in the second half, building a 10-point halftime lead to 26 by the end of the game, defeating Odebolt-Arthur, 77-51.
Balanced scoring helped the Cyclones pick up the win, as four players scored in double figures for Alta.
Nesbitt led the way with 16 points, including four three-point goals, and DeMan had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Hamer also hit four three-pointers to finish with 14 points and Stille had 10 points and five rebounds.
Hinkeldey grabbed eight rebounds and recorded three steals to help Alta record the 26-point victory.
"We shot the ball very well, including 10 of 15 from three-point range," Bousum said. "I was very pleased during the second and third quarters when we extended the lead to 17 points."
The boys junior varsity team returns to action on Jan. 7 when it travels to Pomeroy to take on Pomeroy-Palmer.