IOWA CITY - Anamosa JV boys basketball coach Wayne Lasack had seen this act before.
His team falling into deep early holes only to battle back but come up just short at the end.
Friday, Feb. 14, at Iowa City Regina, things would finally be different.
“What a game and what a comeback by our kids,” said Lasack, as his team tallied from a 23-9 first quarter deficit to win 56-55 in the final seconds.
“After the slow start Justin Tjaden got our offense going hitting six first half 3-pointers and then once he got going, everyone got going and all of a sudden we were right back in this game.”
Trailing 55-54 with less than 25 seconds to play, Lasack called timeout wanting to set up a game-winning shot opportunity.
It was fun to perfection by his JV team.
“Iowa City Regina took a one-point lead with about 30-seconds to play and I called a timeout to set something up,” Lasack said. “We ran an isolation for Jay Gatto and he hit the game-winning shot with about 10-seconds to play in the game. It was such an amazing feeling to get a win this this where we fell behind early and battle back, but this time were able to get the game-winner to fall. We had battled back so many times this year only to come u short at the end, not this time though. These kids deserve a win like this. They have worked so hard this year and have never given up on themselves. Do battle back from 14 down in the first quarter, take the lead and then lose it late in the fourth quarter only to come back and win it at the end shows a lot of heart and a lot of character, and this team is full of guys just like that.”
The Regals launched a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer that came nowhere near the rim and the Raiders (2-17) celebrated their huge accomplishment.
“Iowa City Regina was hitting everything in the first quarter and we just couldn’t keep pace with them early,” Lasack said. “We got back into the game quickly with a big second quarter led by Justin and then actually took our first lead in the third quarter (41-37).”
The Regals rallied to take a five-point fourth quarter lead before a huge trey from Kole Dietiker pulled Anamosa closer while teammate Justin Siefker knotted the score with another clutch trey before Gatto’s late heroics.
Tjaden finished with a game-high 20 points while Dietiker added 11 more for the visitors. Siefker chipped in with eight points while Sage Hoyt tallied seven more.
“It honestly felt like we had just won the state championship when the final buzzer sounded,” Lasack said. “It’s been a challenging season, but hopefully something like this will help this group going forward.”
Anamosa hosted Tipton Tuesday, Feb. 11, and after taking a brief first quarter lead succumbed to a 41-35 final against the Tigers.
“This was a close game the whole way,” Lasack said. “We struggled to score the basketball but our defense kept us in it. We were able to cut the deficit to three points late in the game, but just couldn’t get all the way over the hump.”
The Raiders led 7-6 after one frame but a 13-7 run by Tipton in the second stanza had the visitors leading 19-14 at the half.
Gatto finished with a team-high 13 points while Hoyt added seven more.