DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) — Izic Mackey’s rebound and put-back before the final buzzer pushed Alburnett (20-5) into the Class 1A state championship game after a tense 39-37 showdown with Remsen St. Mary’s.
The Pirates have come up with two close wins in their first ever state tournament appearance, and Wednesday’s semifinal went down to the wire as St. Mary’s hit two 3-pointers in the final minute to tie the game. Blaine Harpenau’s late corner shots may have given the Hawks (20-7) dreams of their first championships, but Alburnett’s final possession sealed the win as Hunter Caves missed a close jumper and the 6-foot-5 senior Mackey made the clutch play.
“We wanted to get over that hump this year,” said Remsen St. Mary’s Head Coach Scott Ruden. “That was one of our goals and we didn’t quite get there so it’s hard. Truthfully though I’m just so proud of the boys.”
“We thought after Blaine hit that big shot we were in a good spot to go into overtime,” said junior Brayden Ricke. “I thought once we went into overtime that we’d be alright. We had experience like that before and got what we wanted. Guy missed a shot and we just didn’t execute the last second play and he put it back in.”
Mackey led the Pirates in a low-scoring and physical game, finishing with 19 points and five rebounds. Caves added 11 points, cutting open his eyebrow on a foul in the final minute and patching it up to close out the win.
St. Mary’s got a team-high 13 points from Harpenau, including the two treys that took the game to 35-34 with 36 seconds left and 37-37 with 22 seconds left. Coach Scott Ruden’s club will now makes its third consecutive 1A consolation game appearance.
Alburnett will take on two-time defending champion Grand View Christian (25-1) in Friday’s final. Tipoff is set for 2:10 p.m.