If there is a ballgame that could be an instant high school classic, Friday’s matchup between Pekin and North Mahaska may be one of those games. The contest saw six ties and 10 lead changes before North Mahaska scored the 66-60 win in overtime. The Warhawks advance to the district final against Lynnville-Sully on Tuesday at Knoxville.
North Mahaska held the lead at six twice while Pekin’s largest lead was three. North Mahaska held a two-point lead at the first two breaks. Pekin’s Cade Bemis drilled a trey at the close of third period to tie the game at 37-37 and teammate Sven Dahlstrom did the same at the end of regulation as the teams headed to overtime tied 54-54.
In the OT period Braden Steel gave North Mahaska the lead 56-54 but Pekin’s Jaedon Wolver answered with a trey to give the Panthers the lead again. Steel added a pair of baskets and Lane Harmon hit a free throw as NM took a 61-57 lead with 1 minute 26 seconds to play. Again, Dahlstrom came to the rescue hitting a long ball, but Pekin would not score again. In the final 50 seconds NM soaked the game away going 5-of-6 at the free throw line.
Nolan Andersen and Steel battled Pekin’s Luke Long and Wolver under the basket for rebounds. NM outrebounded the Panthers 33-25, which provided extra possessions for each squad.
“We had some big possessions and big rebounds when we needed it the most,” said NM coach Seth Streebin. “I was proud of how we finished the game. Nolan hit some huge shots for us. Nash (Smith) and Lane hit some key free-throws. Braden rebounded well. Ethan (Huffman) and Nate (Sampson) played good defense. A nice team effort.”
Andersen had an impressive line with 19 points, eight rebounds and three steals while Harmon had 19 points, six rebounds and four steals. Two of the latter resulted in breakaway baskets. Steel finished with another double-double scoring 12 points with 11 boards. He had three steals and blocked a shot. Smith had nine points and a block.
Pekin, 12-11, had four players reach double figures. Wolver led with 16 while Long and Dahlstrom each had 14. Ben Ehret scored 11. Long led the rebounding with nine and Wolver had six.
North Mahaska, 19-4, will face their long-time rival Lynnville-Sully (21-2) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. It is the same two teams who went head-to-head in last season’s substate final with NM earning the trip to state. Tuesday’s winner will face either Gladbrook-Reinbeck(21-2), who is ranked fourth in Class 1A or South Iowa Cedar League foe Keota (21-3), at a site to be determined.