RSM back to state semifinals with win over Prince of Peace

Thursday, March 7, 2019
Blaine Harpenau drives to the hoop and goes up for a layup as Nathan Moeller of Prince of Peace tries to knock the ball away from behind. Harpenau made all three of his shots from the floor as he finished the game with nine points. He added a team-best five assists as well as a pair of steals to his totals.
(Sentinel Photos By Allen Hamil)

DES MOINES — For the third year in a row the Remsen St. Mary’s boys basketball team made it to state and likewise, for the third straight year, the team won their opening round game at Wells Fargo Arena by taking down third-seeded Clinton Prince of Peace by a 58-55 final score on Monday, March 4.

“A final four for the third year, that’s crazy,” RSM Head Coach Scott Ruden said. “I’m proud of them. They find a way to win somehow. We just grind it out with teams. Hats off to the other team, they’re good. Their record showed it, we saw it on film and they played a really good game, but our boys just find a way to win somehow. It’s great for these young guys to get to play two more down here and get the experience. I think it’s going to help us for next year’s program to do this.”

The Hawks had to hold off a late rally from their opponent after building up a lead of as many as 10 in the second half. RSM took the lead at the 2:56 mark of the second quarter on a layup by Spencer Schorg and maintained an advantage until just over a minute remaining in the contest as Kaidion Larson knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:09 left to give the Irish their first lead since the 1:33 mark of the opening frame.

Skyler Waldschmitt pivots underneath the hoop as he tries to position himself for a basket. Waldschmitt scored 14 points and led the team with seven rebounds. He also had two of the team’s seven 3-pointers in the game as Prince of Peace ended just 2-of-12 from beyond the arc compared to 7-of-13 for the Hawks.
(Sentinel Photos By Allen Hamil)

Prince of Peace was unable to score the rest of the game while Schorg and Brayden Ricke put the team in front by three with free throws in the final minute. Ricke missed two other free throws with seven seconds left which would have iced the game and the Irish got one final attempt. Schorg wisely fouled Larson before he was able to get a potential game-tying shot off, sending him to the line for a one-and-one situation trailing by three with two seconds left. Larson missed the first attempt and Brady Homan secured the rebound as the team came away with the win.

Schorg, the lone returning starter from last year, said his teammates stepped up in their opportunity on the big stage.

“It’s an amazing feeling that I can experience it with this group of guys,” Schorg said. “A lot of people counted us out because we have no senior leadership, but I think we’ve been in big moments before.”

Prince of Peace held the early lead at 8-4, which would be their largest lead of the game, before the Hawks got a pair of 3-pointers from Blaine Harpenau and Skyler Waldschmitt to pull in front. Being the six-seed this year after securing the three-seed the last two years has played into the team’s underdog persona this year according to Waldschmitt.

“We’ve just been the underdog all year,” Waldschmitt said. “That’s nothing new to us. We always find a way to win no matter what. We’ve always got five guys on the floor that can score and we use that to our advantage and find a way to get the win.”

Perimeter shooting was the difference in the game as the Hawks went 7-of-13 from distance compared to 2-of-12 for the Irish as both teams made a total of 20 shots from the field.

Schorg set up shop in the corner and was able to finish with three triples as he led the team with 19 points.

“It’s a huge factor because when you hit a three, the momentum just shifts,” Schorg said. “You get that energy flowing through your body when the crowd gets all hyped up. I saw the first one I hit in the corner and I just knew I had to keep going back to the corner because that was my hot spot at the time.”

Ricke scored his 3-pointer, his only make from the field, in the final seconds of the first half which changed the halftime dynamic from just a four point advantage to a lead of seven for the Hawks entering the locker room.

RSM was able to stretch the lead out to double digits on three separate occasions early in the second half, the first of which came on an old-fashioned 3-point play from Harpenau. He made the most of his limited number of shots, going 3-of-3 from the field as he ended with nine points. He also led the team with five assists and tied for the team lead with two steals.

“No one at all thought we’d be down here in this position,” Harpenau said. “It just shows the type of talent and how hard we work at it to get down here and be in the same position we were last year. Hopefully we can get one or two more wins.”

Schorg answered a 3-pointer from Patrick Mulholland to put the lead back to 10 and Waldschmitt found Harpenau open after a steal for a fast-break layup for the team’s final double-digit lead.

Prince of Peace held the Hawks to just three points in the final four minutes of the third quarter and chipped away at their deficit as Nathan Moeller hit a pair of layups late in the frame as he ended with 12 points on a balanced Irish team which had four players reach double digits.

RSM was able to keep an arms-length distance until the midway point of the fourth. Mulholland was fouled on a 3-point attempt and dropped in all three free throws to pull the Irish to within a possession and leading scorer Larson scored the team’s final six points as part of his 16 for the game which included the short-lived lead late in the contest.

“Just not losing our composure was huge,” Ruden said. “They made a nice run on us and our kids kept battling. They took the lead late. We tell the boys it’s a game of runs and they’re going to come back and you’ve just got to keep your composure and fight through it. Everybody down here is good, you’re here for a reason. Hopefully we can keep progressing and maybe get our first semifinal win.”

Prince of Peace stuck with their starting five for nearly the entire game before Michael Matthew and Mulholland exited the game with their fifth fouls in the game’s waning seconds.

“They’re a great team and that’s why they are down here,” Harpenau said. “At the end of the game we just had to keep on fighting and grinding. You could tell, they didn’t play as many guys as us, so they were tired. We were able to keep our guys fresh and going fast and getting buckets.”

Prince of Peace ends the season with a 20-4 record.

Remsen St. Mary’s (20-6) advances to the semifinals for the third year in a row. They will face Alburnett (19-5) at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, in a game which will feature the sixth and seventh seeds as Alburnett scored the 55-54 upset of second-seeded Sioux Central in the final Class 1A quarterfinal.

IOWA BOYS STATE TOURNAMENT -

CLASS 1A

ST.MARY’S, REMSEN 58, PRINCE OF PEACE, CLINTON 55

St.Mary’s, Remsen............. 18 14 11 15 - 58

Prince of Peace, Clinton...... 16 9 13 17 - 55

ST.MARY’S, REMSEN (20-6)

Schorg, Spencer 6-12 4-4 19; Waldschmitt, Skyler 6-13 0-0 14; Harpenau, Blaine 3-3 2-3 9; Homan, Brady 2-4 3-3 7; Ricke, Brayden 1-3 2-4 5; Jensen, Austin 2-3 0-1 4; Schroeder, Noah 0-3 0-0 0; Koenck, Jeremy 0-0 0-0 0.

Totals 20-41 11-15 58.

PRINCE OF PEACE, CLINTON (20-4)

Larson, Kaidion 5-14 6-8 16; Moeller, Nathan 5-11 2-2 12; Mulholland, Patrick 3-8 3-3 11; Matthew, Michael 5-7 1-2 11; Schnier, Patyon 2-6 1-2 5; Hudson, Hansi 0-0 0-0 0; Ruden, Gage 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-46 13-17 55.

3-point goals--St.Mary’s, Remsen 7-13 (Schorg, Spencer 3-6; Waldschmitt, Skyler 2-3; Harpenau, Blaine 1-1; Ricke, Brayden 1-3), Prince of Peace, Clinton 2-12 (Mulholland, Patrick 2-7; Schnier, Patyon 0-1; Larson, Kaidion 0-4).

Rebounds--St.Mary’s, Remsen 23 (Waldschmitt, Skyler 7), Prince of Peace, Clinton 28 (Moeller, Nathan 8). Assists--St.Mary’s, Remsen 11 (Harpenau, Blaine 5), Prince of Peace, Clinton 6 (Larson, Kaidion 2; Moeller, Nathan 2).

Total fouls--St.Mary’s, Remsen 13, Prince of Peace, Clinton 16.

Technical fouls--St.Mary’s, Remsen-None, Prince of Peace, Clinton-None.

Fouled Out: Prince of Peace - #50 M. Matthew (:25.2-4th), #11 P. Mulholland (:07.6-4th).