Basketball: LONG RANGE GLORY

Stalder’s buzzer-beater springs Ram to second straight victory

By BRANDON HURLEY
sports@beeherald.com

Greene County often possesses a knack for the dramatic.

This time, a stirring comeback fell in their favor, capped by a riveting finish at the final horn.

Bryce Stalder’s buzzer-beating, left wing three-pointer helped springboard the boys’ team to a pivotal, 50-47 home victory over South Hamilton Jan. 19. The Rams have now won back-to-back games for the first time this winter, on the heels of a seven-point road win Monday night.

The Rams’ closed Jan. 19 thriller on a 6-0 run, sending the usually intimidating South Hamilton Hawks home with a frustrating loss. Greene County trailed by three with 57 seconds to play, but back-to-back long range bombs - initiated by Richard Daugherty’s side-step, cold-blooded net-snapper to tie the game - helped GC pull out a victory from the depths of despair.

It certainly wasn’t all sunshine and roses . The Rams scored just 16 first half points, falling into an 11-point halftime deficit, at one-point trailing by 17 midway in the opening half, down 23-6. It was a resilient comeback, allowing the Rams to split their season series with South Hamilton after losing by double digits a month ago in Jewell. Greene County took advantage of a number of fortunate opportunities. The Rams exploded for 34 second half points, while holding the Hawks to just 22.

Stalder’s game-winner also came off a pair of offensive rebounds on the final possession. Morton uncorked a cross court pass to a wide open Stalder in the far corner with the game tied at 47. The rest, as they say, was history, as Stalder calmly drained the game-winner, helping improving Greene County’s season record to 3-8 overall and 2-4 in Heart of Iowa Conference play.

The Jan. 18 road contest with non-conference foe Woodward-Granger was tense throughout. The Rams trailed by two at the break, but used a explosive second half to surge out ahead, securing the eventual victory, 66-59. Greene County scored 38 points in the second half, out-scoring the hometown Hawks by 10, thanks to nine total three-pointers across the four periods. The Rams were led by Bryce Stalder yet again, who scored a game-high 29 points (thanks to four three-pointers) while Richard Daugherty continued his recent hot streak, drilling five three-pointers (5-of-9), padding his 20-point scoring outburst.

Entering the contest with South Hamilton, Daugherty had made a combined 22 three-pointers in his last four appearances, including seven long balls in a loss to Nevada Jan. 12.  He’s now made 30 three-pointers (entering Tuesday’s contest), which ranks the sophomore third in the Heart of Iowa Conference. Roland-Story’s Sam Skaar is No. 1 with 41 three-pointers while Nevada’s Colin Memmer is second with 33. Stalder entered the Rams’ showdown with South Hamilton second in the HOIC at 16.9 points per game.
Undefeated Roland-Story (10-0) continues to lead the HOIC with a 6-0 league record, a full two-and-a-half games ahead of Nevada, who sits at 5-2 in conference play. Greene County is alone in fifth place, a game-and-a-half behind PCM and South Hamilton, who sport 3-3 records.

GC GIRLS SPLIT CONTESTS

The Greene County girls’ basketball team followed the pivotal Jan. 18 non-conference victory with a disappointing showing against a red-hot South Hamilton squad Jan. 19, falling 47-20.

The Hawks have now won five straight contests, while Greene County (4-7) has captured victory just once in their last four appearances.

The Rams began the week with an encouraging, 39-32 victory over Woodward-Granger Jan. 18 in Granger. GC recovered from a frustrating first half in which they scored just 14 points. The Rams poured in 25 second half points, including a 16-point outburst in the final frame, helping secure victory. GC outscored the Hawks (3-10) by 11 over the last 16 minutes, surging back from a four-point halftime deficit.

The always steady Bri Habben tallied yet another spectacular performance, leading the way with a double-double, pouring in 15 points to go with 14 rebounds as well as seven blocks and a pair of steals.
The Rams secured 34 total rebounds and dished out 10 assists on 13 made field goals. As a team, Greene County also came away with nine blocks and nine steals.

The Rams struggled to put points on the board In Tuesday’s loss the following night. The Rams scored just nine first half points while they fell into a devastating 13-point hole, 22-9. The Rams fared a bit better offensively in the final two quarters, scoring 11, but failed to contain the South Hamilton ball-handlers. The Hawks scored 25 in the second half, pulling away for the key Heart of Iowa Conference victory.

Habben led the Rams with 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Brianna Osterson came away with five rebounds, four steals and three points.

As a team, the Rams shot just 29 percent from the field and missed all five of their three-pointers. Greene County fell to 2-4 in league play, firmly in fifth place. Roland-Story continues to sit atop the standings with a 6-0 record, two-and-a-half games up on Nevada (5-2).
Habben is currently third in the HOIC in scoring at 12.4 points per game while she is second in rebounding (9.2 rpg) - which ranks her 12th in the state - and first in blocks (2 blocks per game). The junior’s 50 percent success rate from the field ranks her third as well. Osterson is fourth in steals at 2.6 per game.

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