DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Josh Carter scored 18 points and Dubuque Wahlert held off a late charge to beat Le Mars 46-38 Saturday and win its second consecutive Class 3A state championship.
Carter’s 12 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes, including a 3-pointer and 7-for-8 free throw shooting, enabled the Golden Eagles (18-9) to keep the Bulldogs at bay and give the school its fifth basketball title.
Nolan Timp scored nine points for Wahlert and Cordell Pemsl added eight points and eight rebounds for a team toughened by a schedule made up mostly of larger Class 4A schools.
All-tournament captain Tyler Borchers’ 14 points and eight rebounds led Le Mars (22-5), which reached the championship game for the first time since 1946. Tyler Paulson and Pete Meis each had eight points Le Mars.
Carter’s scoring was critical because Pemsl, a 6-foot-8 junior and leading the team with a 17.8 scoring average, got into early foul trouble and eventually fouled out.
Le Mars ran off the first six points of the fourth quarter to chop an 11-point deficit to 32-27 on Borchers’ two free throws with 5:47 remaining. That’s when Carter went to work.
He sank two free throws and dropped in a 3 from the left corner to take the lead to 37-27. When Le Mars drew to 41-37 on two more Borchers’ free throws, Carter stayed aggressive with the ball, drew fouls and sank 5 of 6 free throws to wrap it up.
Le Mars overcame Borchers’ early foul trouble to take a 16-12 halftime lead. But the Bulldogs shot just 1-for-8 in the third quarter, Wahlert went on a 17-1 run and the Golden Eagles led the rest of the way. They forced four turnovers during that burst, got a couple of buckets inside from Pemsl, who has said he’ll sign with the University of Iowa, and back-to-back 3s from Riley Till and Timp.
Wahlert’s five titles are tied for the fifth most of all time in the state.