Everything the Bettendorf boys basketball team has accomplished this season, the Bulldogs have done together.
That includes withstanding a challenge from North Scott to earn a berth in the Iowa Class 4A state tournament with a 46-44 substate final victory on Tuesday night at Davenport West.
“The 10 seniors on our team, we stepped up and got it done. This means everything to us,’’ said Michael Baer, who knocked down a basket with 1 minute, 26 seconds left and hit the first of two free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining to provide Bettendorf with just enough offense to secure the win.
His basket, the last of the game for either team, gave the Bulldogs a 45-38 advantage and his foul shot extended the Bettendorf lead to 46-43.
“I wanted both, but I had to get that first one,’’ Baer said. “That was the big one.’’
North Scott’s Reece Sommers was fouled after the rebound, hit the first of two free throws with :01 left and missed the second. The long rebound ended up in Bailey Basala’s hands for a shot attempt at the buzzer that didn’t drop.
“It didn’t come easily, but against North Scott, I knew that would be the case. They made us earn it,’’ said Bettendorf coach Curtis Clark, whose team will learn its state quarterfinal opponent today under a new seeding procedure debuting this year.
“We’ve still got some things to work on. We missed too many free throws, turned the ball over a few times late, but I want the guys to enjoy this. It’s a moment they’ll remember forever.’’
Things couldn’t have started much better for the Bulldogs.
Bettendorf scored the game’s first nine points before Drew Bofelli ended an 0-for-7 start from the field by the Lancers, scoring on a baseline drive with 2:39 left in the opening quarter.
North Scott trailed 14-4 after the first quarter, but pulled within 24-22 at halftime on a buzzer-beating basket by Bofelli, who led the Lancers with 13 points.
“With the start we got off to, some teams would have given up, but these guys showed a lot of character, stuck together and got us back into the game,’’ North Scott coach Shamus Budde said.
Sam Stonskas, a senior who entered the game with six 3-point field goals on the season, opened the second half with his third of the night to give the Lancers their first lead at 25-24.
Basala, who finished with 11 points, buried two more later in the quarter but denying North Scott (16-7) success from behind the arc was a big part of Bettendorf’s approach to the game.
“They were 13-of-23 from three against us this season and that was something that had to change,’’ Clark said. “We couldn’t let them get comfortable out there and expect to win. For the most part we got that done.’’
The Lancers hit just five of the 24 shots they attempted from 3-point range and like the Bulldogs, who went 10-of-21 at the line, North Scott dealt with a 15-of-26 touch at the stripe.
“It was one of those games, back and forth,’’ said JMichael Young, who led Bettendorf with 13 points. “We had to guard them, not give them anything, and we had to stick together and keep fighting.’’
The Bulldogs, just 4-for-14 from 3-point range, used back to-back 3-pointers by D.J. Carton and Young to pull away from the 32-31 lead Bettendorf held after three quarters.
Both came from the right wing and Young’s hit nothing but net to give the balanced Bulldogs (18-5) a 40-31 lead with 5:44 remaining.
North Scott answered by feeding the ball to Basala and Boffeli for baskets, positioning the Lancers to cut the Bettendorf lead to 41-38 when Boffeli completed a three-point play with 2:39 to go..
Young hit a pair of free throws before Baer’s basket left the Bulldogs with a seven-point lead with 1:26 left, a margin that became razor thin following turnovers on consecutive possessions by Bettendorf in the final minute.
“If we were going to get what we came here to get, we just had to play tough, had to hold on and win it together,’’ said Suni Lane, whose joined Carton in grabbing eight rebounds apiece to complement an offensive effort that included seven points apiece from Mark Kallenberger, Cole Grothusen and Carton as well as six from Dylan Clearman.