SERGEANT BLUFF | Dakota Valley ran its winning streak to five straight with a 59-57 boys basketball overtime win over Sergeant Bluff-Luton here Tuesday night.
Tanner Smith banked in a running 10-footer with three seconds left in overtime to put the Panthers in front, but it looked for all the world that SB-L had sent the game to a second extra session.
Daniel Wright – who not coincidentally was a standout quarterback in football – heaved a perfect length-of-the-court pass to Jeremiah Khat, who appeared to have scored a layup with 1.9 seconds left. Khat, though, was called for traveling much to the chagrin of the Sergeant Bluff-Luton bench.
Dakota Valley’s Jack McCabe was then fouled on the inbounds pass and missed a free throw with 1.2 left, but hustled to grab his own miss as time expired.
The Panthers (5-1) chalked up their fifth victory in a row since a season-opening loss to Tea Area. Meanwhile, the heartbreak continues for SB-L, now 3-6 overall after its sixth consecutive loss.
“That’s a big win for us, we only get so many cracks at any of these city schools,” Dakota Valley Coach Jason Kleis said. “I have a lot of respect for them. They have so many weapons, we had to go zone and still couldn’t contain them as well as we wanted but we’re happy we found a way to win.”
The game was tight throughout, tied at 28-28 at halftime after Dakota Valley forged a 16-11 lead after one quarter. The Panthers led 42-38 at the end of the third quarter and it was squared at 51-51 at the end of regulation.
Khat made the second of two free throws with 15 seconds remaining in regulation, tying it at 51-51. Dakota Valley’s Jack Graves missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
Graves and Paul Bruns scored 12 points apiece for the Panthers, while Brennan Moran came off the bench for 10 points. Bruns also got his points in a reserve role.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s Conner Groves fired in a game-high 26 points, nailing six 3-pointers, while Khat finished with 15 points.
“Credit to Coach Kleis and Dakota Valley, they played tough,” Sergeant Bluff-Luton Coach Adam Vander Schaaf said. “There were some things that didn’t go our way but we had some self-inflicted things, too. I thought our guys guarded well in the fourth quarter, but offensive rebounding was an issue for us.
“It’s been a little bit of a problem area for us getting defensive rebounds and they capitalized on some of those at some pretty big possessions in the fourth quarter.”
It was the second straight controversial finish for Sergeant Bluff-Luton, which lost 67-65 at Class 2A top-ranked Hull Western Christian on Dec. 21. Groves took a 3-point shot at the end of the game and there was contact, but no foul was called.
“I feel bad for Adam, I don’t know if he traveled or not at the end,” Kleis said. “They lost a heartbreaker at Western and they’re probably the best 3-6 team in the state.”