Van Meter boys basketball wraps up season
After a postseason run, the Van Meter boys basketball team has closed out its season following a loss in the substate championship.
The Bulldogs first defeated Panorama 84-52 on Feb. 22 in the semifinals to advance in the tournament.
Head coach Jed Alexander said the Panthers kept it close in the first quarter, but once Van Meter got hot shooting the three, the Bulldogs went on a 15-0 run to get a good lead.
“Panorama had been definitely playing some pretty good basketball, they had a nice win over ACGC in the round before, so we kinda knew it was going to be a tough game,” Alexander said. “But we ended up shooting it really, really well and had an easier victory than maybe we anticipated.”
The two teams had played just a couple weeks prior, with Van Meter coming away victorious in that game as well.
Alexander said this time around, the Bulldogs turned up the pressure a bit to speed up the Panthers, however he said the biggest difference was how much better Van Meter shot the ball.
The Bulldogs then went on to play Red Oak in the championship Feb. 26 for a chance to go to state.
Van Meter was up on Red Oak 16-10 after one and 25-24 at halftime, however the Tigers were the winners in the end, defeating Van Meter 59-57.
Alexander said the Bulldogs couldn’t get anything to go in the beginning of the second half, which is when the Tigers took advantage and went on a run to go up 10, however the Bulldogs fought back.
Alexander said Van Meter had two chances to go in front within the last minute. The first time, the Bulldogs had possession with 16 seconds, however they were called for an offensive foul. The second was at the buzzer, when senior Chris Schreck went for the game-winning three, but it bounced off the back of the rim.
“I compliment their effort and their fight all the way to the end,” Alexander said of the Bulldogs’ post game talk. “Because they definitely could’ve given up two minutes to go down 10, and still being able to fight back and have the ball with the chance to win it a couple times, so you commend them on that.”
He added that there’s not much he can say as the Bulldogs were disappointed as they fell short of their goal of making it to state and contending for a title.
Despite not making it to state, the Bulldogs have much to be proud of, finishing the season with a 20-3 record, undefeated in the conference with a conference title.
Alexander agrees, as he said going undefeated is a big thing and the team was proud of being able to get the conference championship back, while the losses were to state-bound teams.
“We played together, we played well as a team, it’s not a bunch of individuals out here, we share the ball pretty well, so that’s another nice thing that we always seem to have,” Alexander said. “And that goes pretty well for us.”
Looking ahead to next season, although Van Meter will lose some seniors who are big contributors, the Bulldogs also have lots of juniors as well.
Alexander said the expectations are still the same, especially since the team will get lots of experience coming back.
“It’ll be a little bit of a different team but conference championship is obviously a goal, getting back to the state tournament and then trying to contend with the best teams in 2A,” Alexander said. “It’s kinda the norm so we plan on keeping it that way.”