STATE BOUND: historic win for South Central Calhoun boys
MARSHALLTOWN — There’s always been a burning desire.
Now, the 2021 South Central Calhoun boys basketball team will bring a long-standing goal to life for its program and the community at the state tournament.
For the first time ever as a consolidated school, the Titans punched their ticket to Des Moines with a 64-56 Substate 7 final victory over Iowa Falls-Alden here on Saturday night.
Unranked but undaunted, SCC (19-5) has been assigned the No. 8 seed for next Monday’s Class 2A quarterfinal matchup against top-seeded Boyden-Hull (24-0) at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Titans again used another clutch fourth quarter to pull away from the Cadets (14-10), who had upset fifth-rated Dike-New Hartford in the previous round to advance. South Central Calhoun outscored IF-A down the stretch, 24-16, after a five-point halftime lead had slipped away.
“My emotions are still high as I’m still processing what happened and how grateful I am to be on this team,” Titan junior Josh Dietrich said. “This means a lot for us. We’ve been so close in recent years to getting to (Des Moines), and with that happening now, it’s a huge accomplishment.
“Everyone made that a goal to get to (state) this year, and our hard work has finally paid off.”
Dietrich led the way with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Sophomore Eli Wheelock (14 points) and senior Cole Corey (10) both reached double figures as well.
South Central Calhoun knocked down 10 three-point baskets.
SCC trailed 17-10 at the end of the first quarter, but a 22-10 second-period run afforded the Titans a 32-27 halftime advantage. IF-A rallied and knotted the score heading into the final frame, but a Brennan Holder three-pointer sparked a 10-2 run and gave South Central Calhoun a lead it wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way.
“I was pretty emotional right after,” Dietrich said. “It’s been a dream of mine to (reach the state tourney field) since I was a kid, and now that we get to play there, it’s just a dream come true.”
South Central Calhoun, which merged the Rockwell City-Lytton and Southern Cal school districts athletically in 2009 and 2010, is led by long-time head coach Clive Clark. Earlier this year, Clark won the 500th game of his career in his 36th season.
RC-L reached state in 1994, 1996, 2005 and 2006. Southern Cal made an appearance in 1992. The communities of Rockwell City, Lytton, Lake City, Lohrville, Lanesboro Yetter and Jolley are included in the SCC school district.
The Titans captured their third consecutive Twin Lakes Conference championship this winter as well. They are 31-2 in league play during that stretch.
SCC was 19-5 overall a year ago, and 21-2 in 2018-19.
SOUTH CENTRAL CALHOUN 64, IOWA FALLS-ALDEN 56
South Central Calhoun — Josh Dietrich 7-11 5-8 20, Cole Corey 3-12 3-5 10, Brennan Holder 2-4 3-4 9, T’Juan Hildreth 0-1 5-6 5, Joe Clark 0-1 0-0 0, Eli Wheelock 5-8 0-0 14, Homer Martz 2-4 0-0 6, Tyler Lightner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-41 16-23 64.
Quarter scores: IF-A led 17-10; SCC led 32-27; Tied 40-40. Three-point goals: South Central Calhoun 10-21 (Wheelock 4-7, Martz 2-4, Holder 2-2, Corey 1-3, Dietrich 1-3, Clark 0-1, Hildreth 0-1).