DES MOINES — The margin of error at the state tournament is so small that one or two bad stretches can be enough to do any team in.
For Garner-Hayfield-Ventura in its Class 2A quarterfinal game Tuesday vs. Carroll Kuemper, a second quarter in which it was outscored 20-2 was ultimately the Cardinals’ undoing in a 51-31 loss.
“I think it just came down to our shots didn’t go in and theirs did,” GHV junior Ryan Meyers said. “Shots we normally make weren’t falling and it just wasn’t our day.”
GHV was 0 for 6 to start the game and it went on to shoot 3-20 in the opening 16 minutes.
Kuemper, which featured South Dakota State recruit Matt Dentlinger, a 6-foot-7 senior, used its length to alter GHV shot attempts in the lane. On the offensive end, Dentlinger bullied his way through the Cardinal defense time after time for a game-high 19 points, and the Knights crushed the Cardinals on the glass throughout the contest.
“I think sometimes if you’re not scoring, sometimes your defense gets a little lapsed,” GHV coach Joe Albertson said. “If you’re upset that you can’t get a shot to go – and I thought we had some pretty good looks – you go back and there’s a lull in your defense a little bit.”
Kuemper finished with a 40-22 advantage in the rebounding category, which included 19 offensive boards.
The Cardinals shot 31 percent (13 for 42) for the game and were 1 of 13 from beyond the arc.
“We didn’t show up, and when you don’t show up you don’t win,” GHV sophomore forward James Betz said.
Meyers led the Cardinals with 11 points while Betz, who was sidelined in the second quarter with three fouls, finished with eight. No other player scored more than three points.
Dentlinger grabbed 11 rebounds to go with his 19 points, Sam Auen scored 11 and Jared Tigges added 10 points off the bench, nine of which came in the Knights’ big second quarter.
"I think the better teams down here survive a bad spell and just play through it," Albertson said. "We just couldn’t get clicking."
Kuemper advances to face Pella Christian in a 2A semifinal Thursday afternoon while GHV finishes its season 24-2.
“It was kind of our year and it was all falling into place,” Meyers said. “It was cool to make it down to state, but next year we’ll be back and we’ll be better.”