Rock Valley towers over IMS

By Jeff Linder

The Gazette

DES MOINES — Iowa Mennonite battled a 5-inch height disadvantage at every starting position.

Yes, Iowa Mennonite battled, and battled hard. But Rock Valley advanced.

Six-foot-9 Marcus Heemstra scored 25 points as the top-ranked Rockets outdueled No. 6 IMS, 61-54, in a Class 1A semifinal at the boys’ state basketball tournament Thursday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

“They’re a very good team that presented us a lot of problems,” said IMS Coach Dwight Gingerich. “We couldn’t take away enough of their plays inside. And we had a few too few shots fall for us.”

Rock Valley (24-2) faces reigning champion Cedar Falls NU High for the championship at 6:05 tonight. NUHS (21-4) held off Laurens-Marathon, 42-38, Thursday morning.

Heemstra made 11 of 17 shots from the field, and grabbed nine rebounds. Jordan Dykstra, another 6-9 inside force, added 10 points and nine boards as Rock Valley enjoyed a 34-24 rebounding advantage.

IMS (25-2) held a 28-25 halftime lead, and cut a 12-point deficit to 55-51 on Jesse Ney’s 3-pointer with a minute to play, but Rock Valley pulled away again.

“Everybody was predicting them to roll through the bracket,” Ney said. “We gave it all we had.”

IMS meets Laurens-Marathon (22-3) in the third-place game at 10 this morning.

“They make the game available, so we’ll play it,” Gingerich said.

Rock Valley asserted itself inside in the third quarter. Heemstra scored seven straight points in a 9-0 run as the Rockets took a 40-33 lead. The margin was 12 points in three occasions in the fourth quarter.

“The second half, we were able to play our style of basketball more,” Heemstra said.

Danny Hershberger — the tallest IMS player at 6-4 — said, “It was tough to deny their big guys the ball.”

Ney led IMS with 22 points. Hershberger added 15 points and eight rebounds, Ethan Gingerich 11 points.


One Response to “Rock Valley towers over IMS”

  1. Rock Valley towers over IMS | Says:

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