It was quite a shootout in the Cascade High School gymnasium, Jan. 17.
Cascade and Northeast battled to a draw in regulation, then gave the crowd some extra basketball during the four-minute overtime period, as the Cougars outlasted the Rebels, 73-68.
“We have five words we really emphasize, and poise is one of them. Down the stretch, we stayed the course,” said coach Nate McMullen. “Each possession for us matters. We have to play harder and longer than the opponent. When we had to, we sat down and played defense.”
The Cougars led 36-31 after an entertaining first half, leading by as many as nine points on three separate occasions.
Northeast narrowed the advantage to two, 46-44, when Gavin Kramer hit for three of his 27 points on the night with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“Kramer is a really, really, good player,” McMullen said. “He’s as advertised — he’s a shooter and hit seven threes against us.”
Cascade again went up by nine, 57-48, early in the final period, when Cooper Hummel hit from downtown before Cass Hoffman stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for the score.
“Coach always tells us to do our roles,” said Hoffman. “My role is to take care of the ball and get guys the ball when they’re open. That’s what I try to do and play hard defensively.”
But Northeast wasn’t done yet. Kramer again found the range from the outside, hitting a pair of threes, and it was 59-59 with three minutes remaining.
Hummel scored a pair of contested layups courtesy of Cole McDermott assists, and Cascade led by four with 90 seconds to go.
Another Kramer three-pointer cut the lead to 63-62. When Northeast hit 1-of-2 free throws with 10 seconds to go, and gained possession after the miss, the Cougars got a big stop defensively, and it was on to overtime tied at 63-all.
McDermott’s post score put the Cougars up 65-63 early in the extra period, and when McDermott located Lieurance cutting to the basket for two, Cascade was up four. The Rebels cut the lead to two points twice, but a jumper and four consecutive Lieurance free throws sealed the deal after the Cougar defense locked down Kramer late.
“That’s the thing, being disciplined defensively. Once we’re disciplined, we’re really good. We just keep working hard and playing hard and see what happens,” McMullen said. “It all comes down to our guys competing hard. Our effort was much better tonight. I still think it can be a lot better. I tell the guys they can never really be satisfied. A win is great, but you have to learn, move on and keep getting better.”
Lieurance erupted for 29 points, and McDermott scored 19 to lead Cascade. The Cougars made 28-of-62 field goals (45.2%) including 5-of-17 three-point shots, 12-of-19 free throws and committed only two turnovers.
Cascade’s statistical leaders against Northeast were: scoring — Lieurance 29, McDermott 19, Hummel 10, Cass Hoffman nine, Nathan Schockemoehl and Mick Hoffman three; three-point goals —Lieurance three, Hummel and Mick Hoffman one; rebounds — McDermott 13, Schockemoehl seven, Hummel six, Cass Hoffman four, Lieurance three, Mick Hoffman one; assists — Hummel five, Cass Hoffman four, Quinn Casey three, McDermott two, Mick Hoffman one; steals — Lieurance three, Cass Hoffman, Hummel, McDermott and Casey one; blocked shots — none.
The Cougars kept it going in the right direction with a big RVC road win, defeating a good Maquoketa team, 70-59. With the win, Cascade improved to 11-4, while Maquoketa fell to 12-3, with two of its three losses to Cascade.
“Very pleased with our defensive effort against Maquoketa,” McMullen said. “Our guys guarded hard and continue to improve.”
The Cougars clicked offensively to open the contest, jumping to a 27-13 lead after one quarter, and it was 38-28 at the half. The Cardinals cut the lead to seven points, 53-46, heading to the fourth period, but Cascade held on for the win.
Lieurance had his second 29-point night of the week to lead the Cougars, while McDermott added 16 and Cass Hoffman 13. Maquoketa was led by Carter Meyer’s 23.
“I think this was our most complete offensive night we have had for a while. Many guys stepped up offensively and continue to improve,” McMullen said. “Jackson and Cole got a lot of attention offensively, however, Cass, Cooper, Nathan, Mick and Quinn do such a good job of cutting hard for other things to open up.”
Cascade made 24-of-60 field goals (40%), including 8-of-12 three-point shots, 14-of-20 free throws and committed nine turnovers.
“Our bench was very energized and focused which led to the court,” said McMullen. “Maquoketa is a good team, and we needed to come out with energy early, and that is what we did. Our guys stepped up and are continuing to improve so we are playing our best at the end of the year.”
Leading Cascade against Maquoketa were: scoring — Lieurance 29, McDermott 16, Cass Hoffman 13, Hummel six, Schockemoehl three, Mick Hoffman two, Casey one; three-point goals — Lieurance four, Hummel two, Cass Hoffman and Schockemoehl one; rebounds — McDermott 11, Hummel 10, Schockempehl six, Cass Hoffman five, Lieurance and Casey three, Mick Hoffman one; assists — Cass Hoffman six, Lieurance four, Schockemoehl and McDermott three, Hummel two; steals — Lieurance and Cass Hoffman three, Schockemoehl, Hummel and Mcdermott one; blocked shots — Schockemoehl and McDermott one.