DES MOINES - Cold shooting surfaced at the most inopportune time for the Humboldt boys basketball team here Tuesday.
Held in check offensively throughout, the eighth-seeded Wildcats (16-8 overall) suffered a 64-44 setback to No. 1 seed Harlan in a Class 3A state quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena.
Making its seventh trip to Des Moines in school history and first since 2002, Humboldt made only 26.8 percent (15-for-56) of its field goal attempts in its lowest scoring output of the season. After leading by four points right out of the gate, the Wildcats watched the third-ranked Cyclones pull away behind a 23-7 second-quarter flurry.
Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Humboldt hoists its Class 3A?state tournament trophy on Tuesday in Des?Moines. For more photos, please visit CU?at www.messengernews.net
"They are a very good team, and it showed (Tuesday)," said first-year Humboldt head coach Jake Mohling of Harlan. "We had trouble getting any open looks, but their defense on the perimeter and size and length inside really bothered us.
"I didn't think we executed (offensively) very well, either. Looking back, maybe I should've made some changes on the defensive end."
Senior Jack Curran anchored the Wildcats with 14 points, while juniors Austin Zylstra and Brady Ross each netted eight.
HARLAN 64, HUMBOLDT 44
Harlan - Adam Juhl 3-5 7-10 15, Nate Gettys 1-2 0-0 2, Gabe Ferry 3-5 2-2 9, Trey Lansman 7-15 6-9 20, Nathan Cave 6-11 2-4 16, Luke Hall 0-0 0-0 0, Garrett Esser 0-0 0-0 0, Hunter Kloewer 0-0 0-0 0, Michael Sarfonden 0-0 0-0 0, Eli Williams 0-3 0-0 0, Will Lansman 1-2 0-2 2, Thomas Fink 0-1 0-0 0, Sam McLaughlin 0-0 0-2 0, Adam Rasmussen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-44 17-29 64.
Humboldt - Nick Heider 1-4 0-0 2, Jaxon Heinz 1-13 1-5 4, Jack Curran 5-12 4-5 14, Austin Zylstra 2-7 2-5 8, Brady Ross 3-9 2-2 8, Alex Nelson 0-1 0-0 0, Christian Birdsell 0-1 0-0 0, Dillon Fevold 0-1 0-0 0, Will Pogge 0-0 0-0 0, Jonah Haselhuhn 0-0 0-0 0, Geoffrey Bruder 0-0 0-0 0, Kenny Kuyper 1-2 0-0 2, Thomas Orness 2-6 0-0 6, Drew Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Isaiah Mooney 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-56 9-17 44.
Quarter scores: Harlan led 11-8, 34-15, 52-25. Three-point goals: Harlan 5-18 (Juhl 2-4, Gettys 0-1, Ferry 1-2, Lansman 0-1, Cave 2-6, Williams 0-3, Fink 0-1); Humboldt 5-21 (Heider 0-1, Heinz 1-7, Curran 0-2, Zylstra 2-4, Nelson 0-1, Birdsell 0-1, Orness 2-5). Total rebounds: Harlan 38, Humboldt 40. Assists: Harlan 11, Humboldt 7. Steals: Harlan 8, Humboldt 7. Blocks: Harlan 12, Humboldt 1. Turnovers: Harlan 10, Humboldt 12. Total fouls: Harlan 14, Humboldt 22. Fouled out: Ross. Points in the paint: Harlan 28, Humboldt 16. Points off turnovers: Harlan 10, Humboldt 10. Fast break points: Harlan 2, Humboldt 0. Second-chance points: Harlan 6, Humboldt 10. Bench points: Harlan 2, Humboldt 8.
Star junior guard Jaxon Heinz was limited to four points on 1 of 13 shooting. Heinz came in averaging a team-high 17.6 points per game.
"We kind of knew (the Cyclones) were going to try and face guard some guys, and we didn't adjust very well to that," Heinz said. "It was frustrating seeing all the things we did wrong.
"It's pretty disappointing not to get the win, especially for our fans."
Curran's jumper at the 5:27 mark briefly gave Humboldt a 5-1 edge, but Harlan closed the first period on a 10-0 burst behind six points from 6-foot-7 University of Nebraska-Kearney recruit Trey Lansman.
With all the momentum on their side, the defending state runner-up Cyclones later reeled off a pivotal 14-0 burst to end the half. Before the break, Humboldt made only four field goals on 14.8 percent shooting.
"That (cold spell) sucks the life out of you," said Mohling. "It's hard to come back from. And when we didn't make a quick run in the third quarter, it hung around a little more. It was insurmountable."
Lansman delivered a triple-double for Harlan (23-2) with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocks. Senior classmates Nathan Cave and Adam Juhl contributed 16 and 15 points, respectively.
The Hawkeye Ten Conference champion Cyclones finished with a 28-16 advantage on points in the paint.
"We kept scoring, we got our defense going, we were making threes," Lansman said. "It was just the snowball effect, I guess."
Curran, Nick Heider, Alex Nelson, Dillon Fevold, Will Pogge and Jonah Haselhuhn all suited up for the final time as Wildcats.
"It was a great memory for our seniors to end their careers at state, and their extra leadership was so important," said Mohling. "This season was unforgettable, and I'll remember it for the rest of my life. I couldn't have asked for a better group of kids in my first year as coach.
"The amount of fun we had was amazing. Our whole community of Humboldt deserves a big thank you. To see all our fans come out and support us was huge."
Perennial power Harlan is making its 17th state appearance, including their ninth since 2001 alone. Veteran Harlan head coach Mitch Osborn now owns 617 career victories, which ranks ninth all-time in Iowa and fifth among active coaches.
Osborn, who previously directed Pomeroy-Palmer to a 1A state crown in 1994 and a runner-up effort in '95, guided the Cyclones to 3A state titles in '04 and '06.
"We didn't look ourselves early on, but (the Wildcats) are an extremely quick team," Osborn said. "Obviously a big part of (the win) was our defense. I think we did a great job of slowing down (Heinz)."
No. 5 seed Dubuque Wahlert (21-4) now awaits Harlan in a 3A semifinal here Thursday at 6:35 p.m. The top-ranked Golden Eagles easily prevailed over fourth-seeded Chariton Tuesday, 81-59.