New London-Spicer hangs on to claim Class 2A title
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jayme Moten can kiss his hair goodbye.
The junior guard scored 19 points — including a clutch 3-pointer late — and New London-Spicer held off Crosby-Ironton 62-52 Saturday for the Class 2A boys' basketball championship.
It was the second title in three years for the Wildcats (32-2), who also beat the Rangers 59-51 for the 2008 title.
Crosby-Ironton (30-3) was led by 27 points from Mark Hoge.
Moten, who quarterbacked the Wildcats state championship football team, said he'd shave his head if New London-Spicer won both crowns.
"I'm really nervous, I'm not sure what it's going to look like," he said before heading to the locker room. "It's worth it. It's completely worth it getting a state title in football and basketball."
As he spoke, teammate Erik Tengwall cut off a few locks as a preview.
Moten nearly got to keep them.
The Wildcats led 43-30 with about 9 minutes to play, before they started to play hot potato with the basketball, turning it over on four trips, losing a dribble once and missing shots. New London-Spicer had 10 second-half turnovers; 15 total.
"We just extended the press a little bit, get some more pressure on them, caused a few turnovers," said Rangers coach David Galovich. "Quit is not in their vocabulary."
A pass from Sam Baker to Tyler Dickie made it 47-43, and Hoge stole the ball at midcourt and found Baker for a layup to make it a 2-point game with 4:16 to play.
"We just tried to slow the ball down because they were running so well," said Wildcats coach Matt Cordes.
A reverse layup by Tengwall was countered by Hoge putting back his own miss with 3:08 to go.
That's when Moten scored his only basket of the second half, getting nothing but net on a 3-pointer with 2:13 to play. Moten then found Aaron Johnson underneath for an easy basket to push the lead back to 54-47.
"I knew I could make it, I had an open look," Moten said. "(Johnson) gave me a nice kick out. I got everybody off me. I just stayed calm and shot it."
"It was a momentum mover, it turned things around for us," said Justin Zylstra.
Cordes knew that Moten, who'd missed his first three second-half shots, was due.
"With a kid that's got that much desire, that much passion for the game and is that skilled, you know that sooner rather than later he's going to knock one down."
New London-Spicer was 6 for 6 from the free-throw line to secure the win.
An early 14-4 spurt gave the Wildcats a 21-8 lead en route to a 34-22 advantage at intermission.
"We came in confident and wanted it bad," Zylstra said. "A lot of us played for the state football team and we wanted two in one year."
Plinview-Elgin-Millville beat Braham 83-51 for third place.