For most of Iowa Mennonite School’s boys basketball game with Highland on Tuesday evening, IMS guards Kirby Shetler and Eli Gingerich couldn’t buy a basket.
When it mattered most, the duo couldn’t miss.
Gingerich’s 3-pointer with 14 seconds left sent the game to overtime and Shetler scored the first three points of the extra session as IMS (9-2) escaped with a 55-52 come from behind win over Highland (6-5).
“Those guys came up big,” IMS coach Dwight Gingerich said. “Those two both stepped up and hit big shots for us. Those were big.”
Shetler and Gingerich were a combined one-of-13 from the field for the first 31 minutes before their late-game heroics.
Trailing 45-40 with less than a minute to play, Shetler hit his first field goal of the game, a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut the Highland lead to 45-43.
After Highland’s Jose Brase hit one of two free throws, Gingerich tied the game when he grabbed an offensive rebound and drilled a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left.
“Dallas (Nye) saw me out there and was able to tip the ball to me, and I was able to knock the shot down,” Eli Gingerich said of the 3-pointer that forced overtime. “My team was constantly encouraging me throughout the game to keep shooting, the shot was there so I took it, and fortunately, it went in.”
Highland had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Colin Sexton’s baseline jumper rattled out as time expired.
“This one hurts deep down,” Highland coach Marcus Hall said. “I can’t fault our players at all. They showed a ton of heart.”
In overtime, Shetler gave IMS an early lead it would never give up.
The junior guard scored on a driving layup on the first possession of overtime and added a free throw following a steal to give IMS a 49-46 lead.
Iowa Mennonite School would clinch the game by hitting six free throws in the final 1:20.
“Highland is a really good team, and they played really tough, but with the momentum we had we felt good going into overtime,” Eli Gingerich said. “That momentum just carried us.”
Iowa Mennonite School trailed 27-25 at halftime but needed just five minutes to erase that deficit.
IMS scored the first nine points of the second half and took its first lead since 4-2 on a conventional 3-point play by Reggie Hostetler with three minutes left in the third quarter.
Highland trailed by a point entering the fourth quarter but took a 38-36 lead on a 3-point play by Sexton 22 seconds into the fourth quarter.
The Huskies didn’t trail again until Shetler’s layup to open overtime.
“I thought we took their punch and bounced right back,” Hall said. “Up by five with a minute left, I need to get them to the buzzer in that game. That was is hard on me just for that reason.”
Dallas Nye led IMS with 19 points and 17 rebounds while Hostetler added 18.
Brase had a game-high 23 points for Highland.
“I was proud of our guys, and I thought we got great contributions from all our guys,” Dwight Gingerich said. “Everyone out there played a big role tonight.”
HIGHLAND (52) – Jesse Wollrab 2-4 0-0 5, Josh Brase 5-14 12-14 23, Nick Sandburg 3-7 0-0 7, Trent Lasek 0-0 2-4 2, Chris Ford 2-10 0-0 4, Colin Sexton 4-7 1-1 9, Jake Michel 1-1 0-0 2, Totals 17-43 15-19 52.
IMS (55) – Nick Yutzy 0-2 0-0 0, Kirby Shetler 2-6 2-5 7, Reggie Hostetler 6012 5-9 18, Tanner Leyden 0-0 0-0 0, Eli Gingerich 2-11 1-2 7, Dallas Nye 6-15 7-8 Zach Hill 2-3 0-1 4, Totals 18-50 15-25 55.
3-point field goals – IMS 4-20 (Yutzy 0-3, Shetler 1-2, Hostetler 1-3, Gingerich 2-10, Nye 0-2) Highland 3-11 (Brase 1-5, Wollrab 1-2, Ford 0-1, Sandburg 1-3). Rebounds – IMS 35 (Nye 17), H 26 (Sandburg 6). Turnovers – IMS 14, H 12. Total fouls – IMS 16, H 19. Fouled out – Brase. Technicals – None.