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IOWA CITY – The 2017 section of the City High schedule featured what felt like a season’s worth of near misses for the Little Hawks.
City High started the new year with its closest call yet.
Carondis Harris-Anderson found a wide-open Kalen Burt for a buzzer-beating layup to lift Waterloo West to a 60-58 win over City High in the 2018 opener for both teams on Friday in Iowa City.
“We just have to learn how to make that play at the end,” City High coach Derek Roberts said. “I’m proud of our guys and how they fought all night and executed our game plan, we hit on all of our keys, we wanted to hold to less than 60 and they scored their 60th point to win it but at the end of the day we made one less play than the other team made.”
City High dropped to 2-6 with its third loss of the season by five points or fewer.
The Little Hawks led by seven with 4:03 to play on Friday but Waterloo West (5-3) closed the game with a 10-1 punctuated by the layup by alley-oop finish by Burt at the buzzer.
City High has now been tied or led in the fourth quarter of four of its six losses this season.
“We don’t feel like a 2-6 team at all,” City High senior point guard Antonio Turner said. “All the games we’ve lost have been close to really good teams and I feel like we are getting much better we just have to keep coming to practice and getting better and keep playing as a team.”
Both teams had a chance to win the game in the final 20 seconds.
It was Harris-Anderson and the WaHawks that made the most of the opportunity.
City High had the ball out of a timeout with 17 seconds left but Harris-Anderson came up with a steal and following a Waterloo West timeout the senior found Burt alone under the basket for the game winner.
“Credit Waterloo West they made some tough plays down the stretch and I think we showed our youth a little bit but that can’t be an excuse for us,” Roberts said. “They just stayed solid and this league is pretty darn tough as everybody knows.”
The plan for the Little Hawks all the way to the final play on Friday was to not let Harris-Anderson be the one to beat them.
In a way that plan worked.
City High held the 6-foot-3 Harris-Anderson to a season-low 13 points, more than 14 below his season average of 27.3, and didn’t allow him to hit the game winner.
Harris-Anderson still found a way to get the win setting up his game-winning assist with a steal and finishing with a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“We doubled him and he made a great play,” Roberts said. “He’s a great player, he’s been on varsity for four years that’s a tough senior player that’s going to play college basketball making a great play.”
Harris-Anderson corralled an errant inbounds pass with seven seconds left and drove to the free throw line where he pulled up for what looked like an attempt at a game winning jumper.
Instead he flipped a pass to a leaping Burt who beat the buzzer with a layup.
“We knew it was going to go to him because he’s their best player and we didn’t want to let him beat us,” Turner said. “Our main focus was to not foul, we knew he was going to get it and he made a play.”
City High was in position to pull off the win thanks to a strong second half.
Waterloo West led 31-21 late in the second quarter but City High scored seven straight points in the final 70 seconds of the first half and trailed 31-28 at halftime.
Turner scored 12 straight City High points to open the second half and gave the Little Hawks a 40-36 lead with 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions.
The junior guard had 14 of his game-high 21 points in the second half.
“The coaching staff told me I need to be more aggressive the second half and I needed to start looking for my shots,” Turner said. “I was just trying to find my spots to be aggressive.”
Junior DeAngelo McNeil had a pair of baskets in a 22-point Little Hawk third quarter as City High took a 50-47 lead
On a night that saw City High go 8-of-31 from 3-point range McNeil was a spark of the bench finishing with eight points, all in the paint.
“That’s what I try to do is just bring energy, I take my role very seriously,” McNeil said. “There are a lot of people that are taller than me but as strong and as athletic as I am I still think I can work down low with the best of them.”
City High took its biggest lead at 57-50 on a Ry Threlkeld-Wiegand 3-pointer with 4:33 left but Waterloo West rallied.
Isaiah Johnson hit a 3-pointer on the ensuing WaHawk possession and Harris-Anderson scored the next five points give Waterloo West a 58-57 lead.
City High managed just one point over the final 4:33, coming on a Keshawn Christian free throw that tied the score at 58 with 1:47 left.
“There’s no magic answers we just have to stick to the process,” Roberts said. “Each day we have to keep working and we will get the wins but we have to keep working.”
Christian finished with 18 points and Jeremy Kambomba had 10 rebounds for City High.
Johnson had a team-high 20 points to lead Waterloo West while Burt added 16 on 7-of-9 shooting.
City High 14 14 22 8 – 58
Waterloo West 20 11 16 13 – 60
City High (58) – Antonio Turner 7-14 3-4 21, Luke Young 1-3 0-0 2, Carter Westlake 0-7 0-0 0, Malik Kimber 0-1 0-0 0, Jeremy Kambomba 1-2 0-0 2, DeAngelo McNeil 4-8 0-1 8, Keshawn Christian 6-13 5-7 19, Ry Threlkeld-Wiegand 2-9 0-0 6, Team 21-57 8-12 58.
Waterloo West (60) – Nicholas Pepin 1-11 0-0 2, Jaquon O’Neal 1-5 0-0 2, Isaiah Johnson 7-9 2-2 20, Antonio Alexander 2-5 3-5 7, Kalen Burt 7-9 2-2 16, CaRondis Harris-Anderson 6-13 1-2 13, Team 24-52 8-11 60.
3-point field goals – ICH 8-31 (Turner 4-9, Young 0-1, Westlake 0-7, Kimber 0-1, Christian 2-6, Threlkeld-Wiegand 2-7); WW 4-16 (Pepin 0-4, O’Neal 0-2, Johnson 4-6, Alexander 0-1, Harris-Anderson 0-3). Rebounds – ICH 31 (Kambomba 10); WW 34 (Harris-Anderson 10). Turnovers – ICH 10; WW 15. Total fouls – ICH 9; WW 12. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.