This past Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, the Sergeant Bluff-Luton boys took possession on the opening tip of the 3A Championship game. Chris Kroll took advantage of the opportunity to put it in for two and get the Warriors on the board first.
Following a three-pointer from opponent Xavier of Cedar Rapids, Kroll stole the ball but was not able to turn it into points. On the very next play, Kroll swiped another steal and took it all the way for two this time.
The Xavier Saints weren’t messing around, as they hit another quick three, but Kroll was ready with a three-pointer of his own in response. Kroll ended the night with 13 total points, second on the Warrior charts.
As their opponent swished yet another three-pointer, SB-L was prepared to fight back, this time with a three from sophomore Sam DeMoss. While the hustle was certainly there on both sides, the Warriors were down by one after the first quarter.
After much back and forth, Kroll tied it up at 22 with 1:30 left on the clock. Keegan Savary’s three-pointer came at the perfect time, pulling SB-L ahead just seconds before the half and putting fans on their feet. Unfortunately, the Saints managed a quick three to regain a two-point lead going into the locker room.
In the second half, leading-scorer Jackson Wright had a 2 + 1 play at the rim to get within one point of Xavier. Wright had 19 points for the night.
Savary knocked down another three to make it 31 all just four minutes into the third quarter. Wright followed that up with another score to pull the Warriors ahead, but the Saints managed to hit a couple of threes at the right time to take a five-point lead going into the final quarter.
DeMoss put in a few critical shots early to get back within one point with under five minutes to play. With a score from Savary, SB-L pulled ahead and forced an Xavier time out. The third Warrior with double-digits this game, Savary had 10 total points.
The Warriors were up by one with one minute to play, but the Saints got off a shot as the clock was running out. After some last-minute free throws, SB-L could not score before the buzzer, leaving the final, 49-54. The Warriors finished their season 17-10, placing second in the state.
“At the start of every season,” explained Savary, a senior, “every team’s goal is to make it to the state championship.” The 2016-17 SB-L boys’ basketball team accomplished that goal for the first time in school history.
Head Coach Adam Vander Schaaf adds, “It was just an experience that we’ll never forget.”