Heading into this year’s Boys’ Basketball State Tournament, the Dallas Center-Grimes boys’ basketball team was looking for its first State Tournament win in school history. After the Mustangs’ first-round game against LeMars on Tuesday afternoon, they will still be looking for it in the future.
The Mustangs got off to a bad start and ultimately lost to LeMars 59-51 at Wells Fargo Arena on Tuesday.
The Mustangs came out shooting from distance in the first half and didn’t have much luck as they trailed 32-16 at halftime.
"We were out of rhythm offensively (in the first half)," DC-G coach Joel Rankin said. "We just didn’t get anything easy in the first half… We settled, instead of passing the ball five or six times, we took one or two passes and shot it and in the second half I thought we were better at playing better team basketball."
The Mustangs were 1-of-12 from 3-point range in the first half, including a 1-of-5 first-half effort from Doug Heritage, a junior.
The Mustangs fought back in the second half, however, and outscored LeMars 17-10 in the third quarter to cut the lead to 42-33 heading into the final frame. After having only five points in the first half, senior Austin Rix came out strong in the third quarter, scoring 10 points and completing three and-one opportunities, helping the Mustangs cut into the deficit.
"My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball because I knew that we needed to get their big guys in foul trouble so our game plan kind of to take it to them and get them into foul trouble," said Rix.
LeMars’s Pete Meis and Tyler Borchers each had four fouls by the end of the game and Tyler Paulson had three.
Rix finished the game with 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocks before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. He was 6-of-8 from the field.
Anthony Jacobsen was 4-of-8 from the field in the game and 2-of-5 from 3-point range for 10 points.
Connor Smith had just one trey and three points in the game but pulled down five rebounds.
Paulson of LeMars was only 3-of-9 from the field in the game, but was 15-of-19 from the free-throw line and led the game with 21 points and eight rebounds.
This was the fourth State Tournament appearance in DC-G school history with the previous three coming in 2010, 2011 and 2013. The Mustangs are still winless in State Tournament games with an 0-4 all-time record there.
The Mustangs have finished off this season with a record of 20-5. This is the fifth straight year the Mustangs have won at least 20 games in a season.