CAMANCHE — With his team trailing by six points with less than two minutes remaining, Camanche boys basketball coach Josh Davis decided to put undefeated Cascade to the test.
The Cougars, ranked second in the state in Class 2A, had won all games this season by 10 points or more and their average margin of victory was 33.4 points.
Knowing that the Cougars hadn’t played a close game, Davis instructed his players to foul, send the Cougars to the free-throw line and hope they’d miss. After all, the Indians had nothing to lose. They had just three wins in 12 outings, and seven of their nine losses were by double-digit totals.
The strategy worked on the defensive end, and then the Indians had the right plan on the offensive end for the final play: A 3-point basket by Brody Lodge that gave Camanche a 57-55 upset victory Tuesday in the River Valley Conference game.
“It’s the biggest win for us since I’ve been here, for sure,” Davis, in his fifth season as coach of the Indians, said. “It was just a great moment for our kids.”
Camanche had battled back from a double-digit deficit but still trailed 51-45 with 2 minutes left.
“We started fouling with about a minute-and-a-half to go,” he explained. “They only had four fouls. They’re used to blowing people out, so I thought they might be a little tight.”
He was right. The Cougars made just 4 of 16 attempts from the free-throw line in the second half.
“We got closer and closer,” Davis said. “They missed free throws, and we took advantage.”
Camanche drew within 55-54 when it sent Ries Rausch to the line, and he missed both attempts.
“We called timeout to draw up a play to get Brody a shot in the left corner, and he made his fourth 3-pointer of the half,” Davis said. “He had the hot hand. Everything he was shooting was on a line.”