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Heartbreaking End For E-Hawk Season

By Staff | Mar 1, 2011

Emmetsburg’s Steven Heddinger chased down a loose ball but ended up trapped by four St. Ed’s defenders, However, the E-Hawk called time out to save the possession and set up the final shot for regulation in the Substate Game Saturday night at Fort Dodge. -- Dan Voigt photo

FORT?DODGE – Some might call it a curse, others may call it the fortunes of sport. Whatever you choose, the end result is the same for the Emmetsburg E-Hawks.

Emmetsburg saw their dreams of a berth in the 2011 Boys State Tournament come crashing down in a 55-51 overtime loss to St. Edmonds of Fort Dodge Saturday night. Emmetsburg ended their season a second time in as many years after being back-to-back district champions, only to be denied in the substate matchup in much the same way things happened last year in a 52-50 Substate loss to Carroll Kuemper on the same floor.

For Emmetsburg and Coach Mike Brennan, the season ended quietly as the E-Hawks walked off the floor as St. Ed’s celebrated on the court.

“”It’s not easy to be this close two years in a row and have it end the way it did,” Emmetsburg Head Coach Mike Brennan said. ”I hurt for these kids. They left everything they had on the court tonight and I just hurt for them.”

Saturday’s game was a battle of defenses from the opening tip. Both teams played very patient defense, with a 7-7 tie to show for their first eight minutes of action in the Dodger gym.

Emmetsburg managed to pull away slightly in the first few minutes of the second quarter, taking a 10-7 lead with 5:00 to go in the half, and then increased the lead to 15-9 with 2:00 to go, before the Gaels came up with a late spurt to make the score 18-15 at the intermission.

The E-Hawks came out of the lockerroom to start the second half with a quick 7-0 run in the first 1:30 of the third frame, prompting a St. Ed’s timeout to settle the defense.

The Gaels would cut that deficit back to five points on several occasions, but a three-point shot by Jake Jackson would push Emmetsburg out to a 31-23 lead with 3:00 to go in the third frame after a Nick Wuebker putback bucket, but once again, the Gaels would cut the E-Hawk lead to five points to end the third frame, 35-30.

The stage was set as the fourth quarter began, but the E-Hawks were living dangerously. With less than a minute gone off the clock in the final quarter of regulation, Ryan Kliegl was whistled for his fourth foul and went to the bench.

The E-Hawks continued to work hard on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court, using the inside presence of Nick Wuebker to score despite the tight defensive efforts of the Gaels.

Emmetsburg held St. Ed’s scoreless for 2:00, taking a 42-35 lead midway through the final quarter, as Kliegl re-entered the game, but :30 later, Kliegl returned to the bench, this time with his fifth, game-ending foul.

St. Edmonds would chip away at Emmetsburg’s lead, cutting the margin to 42-38 with 3:00 to play. Fouls on Emmetsburg put the Gaels into the double bonus with 2:00 to go as St. Ed’s cut the lead to 46-43. Free throws would come into play, as Wuebker would quickly be whistled for two quick fouls in less than a minute and with 1:18 to go in regulation, the E-Hawks’ inside presence was headed to the bench with his fifth foul.

The resulting free throws tied the game at 46-46 as the E-Hawks brought the ball into the front court and went into the ball control offense for a final shot. Patiently, the E-Hawks worked the clock and almost lost the ball, but managed to call a time-out to save the possession with :53 to go.

After the time out, Emmetsburg continued to work the clock, and with :03 to go, Jake Jackson put up a three-pointer from the right side, only to have the shot partially deflected to fall short as the horn sounded, sending the game into overtime.

With a fresh 4:00 on the clock for the overtime, St. Edmonds would draw first blood with a three pointer for a 49-46 lead, but Jackson would sink a pair of free throws with 3:03 to go for a 48-49 score.

An exchange of free throws would give St. Ed’s a 50-48 lead with 2:50 to go but after a steal of the ball and a miss by the Gaels, Jackson was fouled again and sank one free throw for a 50-49 tally at the 2:00 mark.

Fouls would be the rule, as the Gaels would shoot two and lead 52-49 and then added a bucket with :38 to go for a 54-49 lead as the E-Hawks were unable to hit on their possessions.

A foul with :10 to go after a miss by the E-Hawks would give St. Edmonds their 55th point, but with :02 to go, Arthur Heldt managed to hit a short jumper in the paint for the E-Hawks as the buzzer sounded for the 55-51 final score and end of the season.

It was a bittersweet night for the E-Hawk seniors, led by Nick Wuebker, who had the double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out. Jake Jackson came off the bench to add 13 points for the E-Hawks, Seniors Cory Schultes and Bobby Gappa both closed out their careers with four points each, while senior Arthur Heldt tallied two points. Ryan Kliegl would score just three points, but dished out three assists and grabbed three rebounds and Jake Carlson had two points while dishing out three helpers.

The statistical breakdown was very even for both clubs, as both clubs grabbed 23 rebounds each. Emmetsburg committed 14 turnovers to the Gaels 12 and had 14 assists to St. Ed’s 12. Emmetsburg made six steals, however, while the Gaels made nine.

Emmetsburg mad 15 of 19 shots from inside the arc, compared to 13 of 27 for St. Ed’s. From the three, the E-Hawks make three of eight and St. Ed’s made just three of 18 shots. At the free throw line, Emmetsburg connected on 12 of 24 shots and the Gaels made 13 of 26 shots.

”Our seniors were a very determined and resilient group who deserved more for their hard work,”?Coach Brennan said. “I’ll be back and have other chances with other teams to go on, but this was it for them, and that’s a painful feeling.”

The E-Hawks bid farewell to seniors Arthur Heldt, Austin Oppenheimer, Bobby Gappa, Cory Schultes, Tyler Clasing, Steven Heddinger, Dennis Theesfeld, Tyler Thornbury and Nick Wuebker as the season ends.