DES MOINES — Party like it’s 1981.
For the first time in 33 years, the Central DeWitt Sabers are going to be playing in the state championship game following its 56-54 win over defending champion Waverly-Shell Rock Thursday night.
The Sabers held suit for most of the game with the exception of the Go-Hawks having a small lead in the final minutes of the first quarter.
DeWitt jumped out to a quick 9-4 lead thanks to three baskets near the paint bookended by a 3-pointer from McClain Steffens.
Waverly-Shell Rock caught up by sinking free throws, which the score became 15-13 in favor of the Go-Hawks at the end of the first quarter.
Marty Green opened up the scoring for the Sabers in the second quarter off of a fastbreak layup. There were lots of opportunities for the transition offense to burst out.
The Go-Hawks only committed two turnovers in their win on Tuesday, but the Sabers forced seven turnovers in the first half, and forced 12 overall on W-SR. The Sabers, on the other hand, committed 14 turnovers on Thursday, just six more than on Tuesday.
DeWitt also posted a 10-0 late second quarter run that was fueled by buckets from Kyle Bauer, Christian Wright and Lucas Daniels.
“Tonight, it was a full team effort,” Bauer said. “We had everyone stepping up at the perfect time, and that’s what this game is all about.”
On Tuesday night, Bauer dropped 32 points, but still credited his teammates. He had more of a reason to on Thursday as all eight Sabers who saw playing time scored.
“I think tonight was more of a typical night for us,” Sabers coach Jeff Frick said. “We’ve had guys every single game step up for us, and tonight exemplified that.”
Frick thought the turning point was the adjustment that the Sabers made switching from man-to-man defense to a box-and-1 zone in the second half.