MASON CITY — How much closer can the Mason City boys basketball team get to nabbing a big win? Well, the answer may be in the word itself: close.
That was the story again Friday night as the Mohawks fell just short in a 48-46 loss vs. Urbandale.
“What I really like about this game is we’ve had a problem all season not finishing a game in the fourth quarter,” Mason City coach Nick Trask said. “This time we played a really good fourth quarter and put ourselves in a position to win with winning plays. The unfortunate thing is we didn’t decide to start playing the game until about the second half.”
In what has become Trask’s tradition as head coach, the Mohawks started five seniors on senior night, and they were able to hold their own in the first quarter as good defense kept them within a point, down 10-9.
But it was a few little runs that separate the J-Hawks from the Mohawks in the second, and the Mohawks were never quite able to get over that hump.
In the third quarter, Mason City did tie it up at 27-27, but an 8-0 run by Urbandale put it back in front.
But, as Trask said, the second half, and specifically the fourth quarter, was where the Mohawks shined.
As the seconds ticked away in the game’s final quarter, Mason City drew nearer and nearer.
A 3-pointer by Dylan Miller brought the Mohawks within three points, 45-42, with 1:41 left, and Miller kept creating to get the Mohawks within striking distance.
Another 3 by Miller brought it to 47-45, and he had a chance to tie it on a pair of free throws at two different occasions. The last set came with the Mohawks down 48-46 with 5.5 to play, and an intentional miss on the second free throw gave Mason City hope. A fadeaway by Miller with 2 seconds left clanked off the iron, and then a put-back attempt by Javorius Toney went in and out and the Mohawks were left with a two-point loss.
“We are right there; we are right at a breakthrough,” Trask said. “We were six points away from (Des Moines) North basically, six points from Dowling, two points away tonight. It can happen at any moment. That click can happen at any moment, and I think we’re getting the stages nice and slow this whole time.”
Miller led the Mohawks with 16 points and Toney tossed in 15.
The junior-sophomore duo has started to come around for Mason City, which gives them hope something good can happen in the season’s last couple of weeks.
“Those guys are absolutely amazing basketball players and athletes, but they’re kind of the same player is the little bit of the problem, so they’ve got to learn how to play together and I think we’re starting to get that,” Trask said. “The better decisions they’re making and they’re playing off of each other, the better we’re going to be.”