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Exciting late-game thriller ends in defeat for Waukee boys basketball

Andrew Brown
Dallas County News

Back in action for the third time this season, the Waukee boys basketball team took on a conference battle with Johnston to wrap up the week on Friday, Jan. 8. 

Inside Waukee Field House, the Warriors were engaged in a tough battle with the visiting Dragons and it was a game that went down to the final seconds. Despite the thrilling game, the outcome was not as favorable for Waukee as they fell for the first time this season 49-48. 

Waukee had to battle without a few pieces to their roster as they welcomed in Johnston. The most notable absence was Drake University commit Tucker DeVries, who still leads the Warriors in steals (8) and assists (12) across the young season. That combined with strong defense from Johnston forced the first loss to the Dragons since 2010. The Warriors overall have taken 12 of the last 13 from the Dragons and hold a 12-4 advantage over the past 16 years. 

Blake Papenberg during the Friday, Jan. 8 contest against Johnston in Waukee.

The biggest spark of the night for Waukee came in the dominating second quarter. The Warriors opened up the game with 4-of-10 shooting from the floor and their lowest scoring first quarter of the season with 13 points. That saw Waukee face an early deficit down 19-13 heading into the second quarter of play. The second quarter changed the tides rather quickly for Waukee as both offense and defense were on fire in a 20-3 run. Sixty percent shooting from the floor helped erase a six point deficit and transform it into an 11 point halftime lead. 

Unfortunately for Warrior fans, that was the only strong quarter for Waukee. They went from their highest scoring second quarter of the season to their lowest second half offensive production. Waukee's lead slowly started slipping away as they were outscored 16-8 in the third quarter and 11-7 in the fourth quarter.

Leading the scoring efforts individually for the Warriors was Payton Sandfort, who collected 19 points on the night courtesy of 5-of-16 from the floor, 3-of-8 from three-point range and six-of-six from the free-throw line. Sophomore standout Omaha Billiew was next up with 12 points on five-of-six shooting, followed by fellow sophomore Pryce Sandfort with seven points.

Cade Kelderman drives to the hoop on Friday, Jan. 8 during a home battle against Johnston.

Payton Sandfort, Pryce Sandfort and Billiew also led the way off the glass with seven, six and five rebounds respectively. Sophomore Cade Kelderman led the Warriors with three assists on the night. 

Overall, Waukee hauled in 21 rebounds while shooting 42 percent from the floor as a team. The Warriors found even more success from the free-throw line where they shot 91 percent for the night. 

The loss for Waukee drops their record to 2-1 on the young season. Their next competitive slate starts on Saturday, Jan. 9 at home against Des Moines Roosevelt. That is then followed by another home battle against Urbandale on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Waukee has taken four out of the last five from the Roughriders while splitting the last four with Urbandale at 2-2. 

Waukee senior Payton Sandfort with a shot on Friday, Jan. 8 against Johnston.