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Hawks rally, stay in HOIC title hunt

The South Hamilton reserves are on their feet during the Hawks’ second-half rally against PCM on Friday in Jewell. Photo by Angela Hewitt

JEWELL — South Hamilton has become a second-half team.

For the second straight outing, the Hawks forgot about a subpar first half and dominated after the break to pick up a much-needed Heart of Iowa Conference victory on Coach Jim Marsh Court Friday night.

PCM poured in 24 second-quarter points to take a 31-19 lead into the break, but the Mustangs managed just 21 more points the rest of the way as South Hamilton rallied for a 56-52 victory.

“We played a pretty average first half and almost let it get away from us in the second quarter,” South Hamilton head coach Matt Juber said. “Halftime was a gut check for us and I’m so proud of how the guys stuck together and dug themselves out of the hole we were in. We had urgency.”

South Hamilton (10-6, 9-3 HOIC) avenged a 67-54 loss to PCM on Jan. 24 and stayed in the conversation for the conference title. The Hawks will need help though from none other than PCM (11-8, 7-6 HOIC), which will travel to Gilbert on Tuesday. A Gilbert win would clinch the crown for the Tigers, while a PCM victory would put the Hawks in line to possibly share the title with Gilbert.

Photo by Angela Hewitt

Forwards Cade Balvanz and Austin Busch played the biggest roles in the second-half spurt. Balvanz poured in a team-high 18 points, Busch produced 12 more points, and both corralled eight rebounds.

“Balvanz and Busch owned the paint and did a great job of playing off one another,” Juber said.

Quinton Grove was a force on the perimeter with 13 points, eight of them coming at the free throw line. South Hamilton outscored PCM 16-4 at the charity stripe.

Doran Lutjen added seven points, and Tycin Barkema had three points and four assists.

South Hamilton found it nearly impossible to contain PCM’s Jason Stafford, who got loose for a game-high 26 points. Andrew Mitchell and Gatlin Boell both finished with nine points.

The Hawks outscored PCM 19-8 in the third quarter to close to within one point, 39-38.

South Hamilton will be at Nevada on Tuesday.

South Hamilton 56, PCM 52

Friday at Jewell

PCM (11-8, 7-6 HOIC) — Sage Burns 0 1-2 1, Jason Stafford 11 1-1 26, Andrew Mitchell 3 0-0 9, Gatlin Boell 4 0-0 9, Durant VanDyke 0 1-2 1, Grant Landgrebe 0 0-0 0, Derek Brown 2 1-2 6. Totals: 20 4-7 52.

South Hamilton (10-6, 9-3 HOIC) — Aaron Hegland 0 0-0 0, Carter Hewitt 0 0-0 0, Tycin Barkema 1 0-0 3, Doran Lutjen 2 2-2 7, Austin Busch 5 2-4 12, Quinton Grove 2 8-9 13, Freddie Lewis 0 0-0 0, Kyler Hodnefield 1 0-0 3, Cade Balvanz 7 4-6 18. Totals: 18 16-21 56.

PCM 7 24 8 13 — 52

S. Ham. 9 10 19 18 — 56

3-point field goals — PCM 8 (Stafford 3, Mitchell 3, Boell, Brown); SH 4 (Barkema, Lutjen, Grove, Hodnefield). Rebounds — SH 26 (Busch 8, Balvanz 8). Steals — SH 5 (Grove 2). Assists — SH 14 (Barkema 4, Balvanz 3). Turnovers — SH 10. Team fouls — PCM 18, SH 11. Fouled out — PCM: Mitchell.