16 Iowa Conference championships
Game highlights II
Game highlights III
PELLA—Playing on its biggest stage of the season, the Central College men’s basketball team proved ready for prime time. After an Iowa Conference season filled with tight finishes, the Dutch scored the first 10 points of the league tournament championship game and rolled up a 99-79 victory over Buena Vista Saturday before a noisy Kuyper Gym crowd.
That assures the Dutch (23-4) of their first NCAA Division III tournament berth since 1995. It’s the school’s ninth NCAA tourney appearance, the most of any league school. The 61-team tournament field will be announced Monday morning.
Guard Miguel Ley (senior, San Antonio, Texas, Judson HS) and forward Mark Holan (senior, Fontanelle, Nodaway Valley HS) each scored 26 points in the runaway win, with Ley passing out eight assists and grabbing six rebounds. Holan made five steals, giving him a school record 64 for the season. Forward Loren Liming (senior, Ames, Gilbert HS) added 17 points, six rebounds and five assists while center Zach Cooper (senior, Johnston) had nine points and 10 rebounds and Justin Madsen (senior, Fort Dodge, St. Edmond HS) also scored nine points.
The Dutch had their biggest first half of the season, coming away with a commanding 51-28 lead. Central stretched the advantage to as many as 30 points in the second half.
“You could tell the guys were ready to play,” coach Mike Boschee said. “I didn’t have to do any motivating before the game. We just wanted to keep it simple and play basketball. We executed well and we made shots. And getting out to the big lead really helped our confidence.”
Central shot 52.9 percent to Buena Vista’s 47.3 percent. The rebounds were even at 35-35, but the Dutch forced 19 Buena Vista turnovers, coming up with 13 steals.
“We got contributions from a lot of people,” Boschee said. “It was a great team effort. When the guys work as hard as they do in practice and in games, they deserve the success they’ve had this year.”
Boschee credited the largest Kuyper Gym crowd of the season for helping fuel the rout.
“The crowd tonight was unbelievable,” Boschee said. “It was energetic and enthusiastic. It really plays a vital role in our energy level, especially on defense. When you’ve got that kind of crowd backing you, it’s hard not to play good defense.”