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Go-Hawks defeat Comets 54-42 in Class 3A Substate 3 first round

Press Staff Report
MARION — Committed to make this a defensive battle to the very end, Charles City led for most of the first half before going into the locker room tied at 19 against Waverly-Shell Rock in the opening-round of the Class 3A-Substate 3 boys basketball tournament, Monday at Marion High School.

But in the second half, the Go-Hawks rolled out the screen roll while picking up the offensive pace and advanced to the semifinals by way of a 54-42 final.

Waverly-Shell Rock (12-9) will face bracket top seed Marion on Thursday — Marion rolled over South Tama 79-31 in Monday’s latter game at the same site.

Charles City ended its season with a .500 record (11-11) after placing second in the Northeast Iowa Conference.

During the regular season, the Comets and Go-Hawks split their two-game series with each team winning on the road.

In their most recent meeting during the regular season, the Go-Hawks prevailed largely in part due to the shot-blocking prowess of 6-foot-7 junior Caleb Burks.

In the 48-44 Go-Hawks victory, Burks had 12 blocked shots which doesn’t include the multitude of other shots he altered.

On Monday, it was Burks’s ability to finish in the half-court as a catalyst of the Go-Hawks’ screen roll and convert at the free-throw line that enabled his team to pull away and stay alive for at least one more game.

Burks scored 19 of his game-high 23 points in the second half.

Keaton Farmer added 13 points and Hogan Hanson scored 12 for the Go-Hawks.

Playing in his final basketball game as a Comet, Bradley Andrews scored a team-high 18 points.

Junior JJ Ritter scored 10, Marcus Cranshaw scored 7, Ian Collins had 5, and Kaden Barry added 2 points to round out the scoring for the Comets.

Like Andrews, Cranshaw, Tait Arndt and Dawson Hinders closed out their high school prep basketball careers at Charles City.

The Go-Hawks managed to build an 8-point lead going into the fourth quarter, and maintained that advantage for most of the stanza.

When Andrews hit his second 3-pointer of the game with a little more than three minutes remaining in regulation, it drew the Comets within 4 (42-38).

That’s as close as it got as the Go-Hawks — who made 18 of 23 free throws — didn’t succumb when the Comets put them on the line.

“Tonight was a tough game for our team,” Comet head coach Ben Klapperich said. “I thought that our defense was great in the first half but we could struggled to find a rhythm offensively. We had 3-4 wide open inside looks in the first quarter that didn’t fall and couldn’t seem to establish much inside after that.

“Give Waverly credit, they knew our personnel and executed their game plan of slowing the game down and minimizing possessions.

“As for the seniors, they will be missed next season both on and off the floor. First and foremost, they’re first class kids. They were the glue that held our puzzle together throughout the season. They’ve made a huge impact on the program and have definitely raised the bar.”