DES MOINES -- Jeff Vanderloo flashed back over the things his East High basketball team might have done differently and suddenly had the proverbial epiphany.
"I'd like to sit here and complain about the refs or complain about my guys,'' said the 19th-year East High coach. "But I'm going to give the credit to Ankeny. I felt they did a great job and there were not a lot of teams that would have beaten them tonight.''
Dominating pretty much every phase of the game, the No. 2-ranked Hawks of Ankeny sent sixth-ranked East to the Class 4A Boys State Basketball Tournament sidelines with a convincing 72-55 triumph Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Arena.
Connor Schabel, a 6-4 junior averaging just 6.8 points, went off for 22 points as the Central Iowa Metro League's Central Conference champs advanced to the semifinals with a 21-3 record.
East's 7-1 junior center Adam Woodbury, certainly a major attraction, totaled 22 points and 15 rebounds on a night when his team made only 3 of 14 three-pointers, piled up 18 turnovers and surrendered the rebound battle 35-31 to a much smaller opponent.
Ankeny's positive numbers, though, were even more important as the Hawks hit 11 of 20 three-pointers, hauled down a whopping 15 offensive rebounds and collected 11 steals with pressure defense Vanderloo thought his team could handle.
"Every Des Moines coach I talked to said they were going to put crazy pressure on the ball,'' said Vanderloo, whose program has yielded eight state tournament trips in 11 years with three in a row. "I'm going, ‘We can handle it, we can handle it.' But they got after it and we didn't handle it.''
East, bowing out at 19-5, never gained the lead against an Ankeny team that also got 14 points from 6-1 junior guard Cole Myers, sinking four of six attempts from three-point range.
The Raiders had anticipated that and were also mindful of 6-4 senior Grant Lang, a University of Sioux Falls recruit who they managed to limit to seven points. That was well shy of the team-leading 14.9 a game the Hawks' lone senior starter was averaging.
The trouble spot was Schabel, who went 3-for-3 from the arc after going 11 of 55 (20 percent) in 23 previous games.
"He's got it in him,'' said Ankeny Coach John Petersen. "It's been awhile since we've seen that kind of offensive output from him. It was nice to have it show up down here. We just thought that he was a matchup they were going to struggle with.''
Ankeny led 17-10 after a quarter and 29-20 at halftime as East made 10 turnovers in a low-possession contest.
The Raiders pulled within 34-27 early in the third quarter, but five third-quarter treys helped the Hawks take control.
Junior guard Trevor Egli, whose father, Rick, played on an NCAA Division II Elite Eight squad at Morningside, hit a three-pointer with four seconds left in the period. Then, Egli made a quick steal and drew a foul on which he added two free throws after time ran out, suddenly turning a 47-38 advantage into a 52-38 bulge.
East never got closer than 11 after that and eventually trailed by as many as 22 points.
"Their advantage was the size, our advantage was quickness,'' said Ankeny's Petersen. "So the further we could spread the floor, the better off we were.''
"That's a good team out there,'' said Woodbury. "They hit shots and they played better than we did. They put it on us right away and we didn't come back.''
Woodbury took no consolation in the strong nucleus of underclassmen who'll return next season for a team that used only three seniors in a nine-player rotation.
"I feel bad for those seniors,'' said Woodbury, referring to Quinton Behlers, Jordan Menard, Quenton James and also Austin Sypersma. "We wanted to get them one. We'll be back next year, but we wanted to focus on this one.''
Vanderloo echoed those sentiments.
"I'm certainly excited about all the people we've got back, don't get me wrong,'' he said. "I guess right now I'd like to thank our four seniors and worry about that.
"But if you're talking future basketball, one thing I hope we see is how much better we have to get with the ball to be able to handle the pressure late in the season when you play teams like this every night.''
While Woodbury had East's only double-digit scoring total, junior guard J.C. Fuller was next high with eight points.
The win sends Ankeny into a 3:15 p.m. Friday semifinal against No. 3 Des Moines Hoover, 22-2, which fended off No. 8 Cedar Rapids Jefferson 45-39 in the last first-round matchup in 4A.
Ankeny, which has split two games with Urbandale and West Des Moines Dowling while winning two of three over Southeast Polk, dealt Hoover one of its two setbacks in a 50-42 home verdict on Dec. 14.
Alex Imming 1-6 1-1 3, Quinton Behlers 2-8 0-0 5, Adam Woodbury 9-17 4-6 22, J.C. Fuller 3-6 2-3 8, Jordan Menard 0-0 0-1 0, Marcel Dunson 1-4 0-0 3, Quenton James 24 0-0 5, Mading Thok 2-3 0-0 4, Dillon Godfrey 1-2 0-0 2, Austin Sypersma 0-0 0-0 0, Andrew Munson 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor DeLaughter 0-0 0-0 0, Dana Everton 1-1 0-0 2, Ben Schwaderer 0-0 00 0, Alec Lewis 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 22-51 8-13 55.
Grant Lang 3-9 0-0 7, Connor Schabel 5-9 9-13 22, Ted Friedman 1-2 3-6 5, Cole Myers 5-12 0-0 14, Trevor Egli 2-4 4-4 9, Bryan Sumner 3-7 0-0 7, Tyler Jass 3-8 1-1 8, Drew Lindaman 0-1 0-0 0, Trey Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Tyler Figley 0-0 0-0 0, Luke Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Chris Melvin 0-0 0-0 0, Joey Rinker 0-0 0-0 0, Eric Lathrop 0-0 0-0 0, Justin Harre 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 22-52 17-26 72.
East 10 10 18 17 -- 55
Ankeny 17 12 23 20 -- 72
3-point shots -- East 3-14 (Dunson 1-2, James 1-2, Behlers 1-6, Fuller 0-3, Imming 0-1), Ankeny 11-20 (Myers 4-6, Schabel 3-3, Jass 1-1, Egli 1-2, Lang 1-4, Sumner 1-4). Rebounds -- East 31 (Woodbury 15), Ankeny 35 (Myers 7). Assists -- East 13 (Menard 4), Ankeny 13 (Myers 3, Lang 3, Schabel 3). Turnovers -- East 18, Ankeny 13. Total fouls -- East 19, Ankeny 16. Fouled out -- None.