Le Mars boys basketball falls in OT after giving No. 10 Heelan a scare

Wednesday, February 22, 2023
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Nolen Parmelee goes up for a layup in Monday’s postseason game against Bishop Heelan. He led the team with 12 points, his best scoring output of the season.

SIOUX CITY — The Le Mars Community boys basketball team gave Class 3A No. 10 ranked Bishop Heelan a scare in Monday’s first round postseason game, but the Crusaders were able to survive with a 49-47 overtime win over their rivals to move on to the next round.

“Obviously we would have liked it to go the other way, but this is the epitome of high school basketball. This is why I stayed coaching for so long. Environments like this, games like this,” said Le Mars Head Coach Dave Irwin, who coached his final game. “I just had a ball tonight and I think our kids did too. That was our goal going in, is just have fun. Heelan, give them credit, they had all the pressure in the world on them and we had none. We just came in and played and had fun. It didn’t work out the way we wanted, but if it’s going to be my last game, I’m glad it’s this one that I can remember. The opportunities we had, the opportunities that we missed and also the scare that we gave the No. 10 team in the state.”

A Le Mars 62-49 win over the then-No. 6 ranked Crusaders in Sioux City on Jan. 24 gave the Bulldogs some confidence entering the game and Irwin said likely created a shadow of doubt for Heelan.

“Our guys knew we were capable of beating them. It certainly gave us some confidence and I’m certain it put just a little bit of a doubt in Heelan’s mind,” Irwin said.

Le Mars trailed by seven at halftime but were able to work back to a tie by the end of the third quarter.

Dylan Susemihl hit a 3-pointer in the third quarter which started to build the momentum for the team. He finished the game with 10 points as he became a bigger part of the offense in the later stages of the season.

“Dylan, I like the confidence he showed the last three weeks of the year,” Irwin said. “He might not have made as many shots as he wanted, but he was one of our guys that just said the heck with it, we’re having trouble scoring and I’m going to be a guy that’s going to take some opportunities to put the ball in the hoop and he did.”

Unfortunately a fourth foul midway through the third quarter limited Susemihl’s playing time down the stretch. Still, the Bulldogs were able to keep up the fight. Andrew Fifita hit a game-tying 3-point field goal later in the third quarter, part of his 10 points.

“Andrew, he’s a warrior,” Irwin said.

(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Andrew Fifita pulls up to attempt a mid-range jumper for Le Mars over Bishop Heelan’s Mason Streeter. Fifita finished with 10 points for the Bulldogs in the game.

Heelan looked to have the momentum early in the fourth quarter. Matt Noll started off the frame with back-to-back dunks which led to a timeout and he stretched the run to seven points to begin the quarter by stepping back for a 3-pointer as he ended with a game-high 21 points.

That could have been the final dagger, but Le Mars wasn’t going to roll over. They answered back for the next six points which included a 3-pointer from Nolen Parmelee, part of a team-leading 12 points. It was one more than his previous season high in a game against Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson.

“Nolen Parmelee had a great game, probably the best of his career tonight, just the most complete,” Irwin said. “I thought he defended well. I thought he did a lot of good things offensively. I’m so happy that his last game can be a game where he can look and say I played my best game.”

Sean Schaefer hit 1-of-2 free throws for the Crusaders and Drew Galles answered for the game-tying bucket for the Bulldogs as he finished with seven points.

Le Mars had a chance with the ball at the end of regulation, but Susemihl’s go-ahead shot was waved off due to a traveling violation. Heelan’s half-court heave after getting the ball back ended up missing, sending the game to overtime.

Parmelee and Heelan’s Quinn Olson traded layups in the overtime period. Heelan took the lead after Schaefer missed a free throw, but Noll was able to get the offensive rebound, one of his 14 boards in the game, and putback.

Le Mars had a chance to tie at the other end, but Teagen Kasel missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Le Mars was called for a foul on the rebound and Noll went to the other end where he made both shots in the 1-and-1 to make it a four point game.

Kasel went coast-to-coast for a layup to make the score 49-47 leaving one second left on the clock. After a timeout, the Crusaders were able to inbound the ball to seal the win.

While ending in a loss for the Bulldogs, Irwin was proud of the way his team ended the season.

“I think we saw what this team was capable of,” Irwin said. “I wish we would have seen it most of the year, but we saw glimpses. I really thought tonight was probably, aside from maybe the first time we played down here, our most complete game of the year.”

Le Mars finishes the season with a 4-18 record. The team says farewell to seniors Parmelee, Connor Jalas, Kaden Milbrodt and Dylan Walking Eagle. Irwin spoke about each of the seniors.

“A kid like Kaden Milbrodt, just the maturity he shows, the recognition of he enjoyed being a part of this basketball team. Connor Jalas, for a football guy playing basketball, he was a fun guy to coach. He always had a smile, a positive attitude,” Irwin said. “Nolen’s an outstanding kid and I think we saw that he’s a nice high school basketball player. Dylan had some moments throughout the year where he showed that he’s a solid post player.”

Irwin said even though he won’t be back next year, he sees a lot of potential with the returning set of players Cody Dyhrkopp will inherit as he transitions from the girls basketball sideline to working with the boys.

“The best part about this team and the best part for our community, the school and Coach Dyhrkopp is you’ve got a lot of these dudes back,” Irwin said. “Coach Dyhrkopp is an outstanding coach and he’s going to get the most out of these guys that he can. I just want them to give him the respect that they’ve given me. It’s going to be different. I want them to be patient. I want him to have an opportunity to be Coach Cody Dyhrkopp and not Coach Dave Irwin.”

Bishop Heelan improved to 16-6 with the win and will face Carroll (12-9) in the next round.

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