Free throws could have come back to haunt the Marshalltown boys' basketball team Tuesday night.
The Bobcats led by as many as 12, lost the lead late in the fourth quarter and missed 10 freebies in the game but still managed to pull out a win after senior Blake Gimbel hit a miraculous 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime.
Gimbel's triple as time expired sent the Bobcats to their third straight win as Marshalltown kept Indianola winless with a 62-59 victory.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown High School senior Blake Gimbel gets fouled on his way to the bucket Tuesday night during the Bobcats’ overtime win over Indianola. Gimbel hit the game-winning 3 at the buzzer in overtime to send the Bobcats to the victory and finished with a game-high 17 points.
"That was a big victory for us," Gimbel said. "They missed the free throw at the other end, so I just thought we'd get the rebound and it'd be crazy. I was able to get the ball and tried to do what I could to get a shot off. When I saw it go in, I raised my hand and celebrated with my guys."
The Bobcats led by three with 43 seconds to go following two free throws by Blake Judkins. Indianola battled back to tie the game but missed a free throw with four seconds to go that would have gave the Indians the lead.
Marshalltown then secured the rebound and Gimbel did the rest. His final shot of the game banked off the glass, went through the bucket and then sent the Roundhouse home crowd in a frenzy.
Marshalltown 62, Indianola 59, OT
INDIANOLA (0-5) - McMurry 5 2-2 10, Arndt 2 0-1 4, Kuehl 6 2-5 16, Krapfl 0 1-3 1, Beard 1 2-2 4, Dittmer 2 0-0 5, Sandquist 1 0-0 2, Singleton 1 0-0 2, Render 6 3-5 15. Totals 21 10-18 59.
MHS (3-3) - A.Kluver 2 1-2 7, McCarville 1 0-0 3, Judkins 3 3-4 11, Hillygus 0 0-2 0, T.Kluver 1 0-0 3, Wirth 3 0-0 8, Gimbel 4 7-13 17, McDowell 5 3-3 13. Totals 18 14-24 62.
3-Point Goals - Indianola 5 (McMurry 2, Kuehl 2, Dittmer); MHS 10 (A.Kluver 2, Judkins 2, Wirth 2, Gimbel 2, McCarville, T.Kluver).
"A lot of things went wrong for us late in the game, but the kids showed their character and came out with a win," MHS coach Scott Smith said. "It's easy to play when things are going well. It shows real character when you overcome things that go bad. We kept fighting and good things usually happen when you continue to fight."
The Bobcats have now won three straight games to even their record at 3-3. Gimbel said the win streak should be a good confidence builder.
"We overcame a lot of things tonight," said Gimbel, who finished with a game-high 17 points and seven boards. "We came through win the win and coming back with three wins after starting out 0-3 is huge. We should have much more confidence now."
If the Bobcats lost Tuesday, the first blame could have gone to the free throw shooting. The Bobcats were 14-of-25 and missed eight freebies in the fourth quarter. Gimbel himself was 7-of-14.
"They perserved for sure," Smith said. "I did not see them panic all night. We never lost heart and we kept fighting."
The Bobcats led 18-8 after the first quarter following a 12-0 run that featured treys from Gimbel and Mason McCarville and four more points from De'Quan McDowell.
Marshalltown extended the lead to 11 but the Indians (0-5) battled back with a 9-0 spurt thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Trey Kuehl and Lincoln McMurry. MHS led by just three at the break.
A fast start to the third quarter for Marshalltown got the lead back to 12, but the Indians scored six straight to end the period and Keegan Render converted a wide open shot inside at the buzzer.
The Bobcats could not hold onto an eight-point advantage in the fourth quarter as Kuehl buried a 3 and converted a layup off his own steal to trim the margin to three.
Missed free throws by Marshalltown allowed Indianola to tie the game as Render scored again inside.
With the game tied late in the fourth, Gimbel missed a 3 and the Bobcats hit 2-of-4 from the line in the final 23 seconds of regulation.
Indianola could have won the game before overtime but Andy Arndt missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 4 seconds to go and the game knotted at 53.
McDowell picked up his play in the overtime session with a big putback and a jumper. The Indians though found a way to stay in the game as Render continued to dominate the paint. But Indianola continued to struggle at the line and allowed the Bobcats one last crack at the win.
And Gimbel made the Indians pay.
"There's always a chance the ball will go in when Blake shoots it," Smith said. "That was not a high percentage shot but it can't be with so little time on the clock. We definitely want him to get the ball late in the games, and I am so happy he came through for us tonight."
McDowell finished with 13 points and six rebounds for MHS, while Judkins added 11 points. The Bobcats buried 10 triples in the win.
Kuehl led Indianola with 16 points, while Render, who is getting recruited by several Division I schools to play football, added 15 off the bench. McMurry also gave Indianola's bench a lift with 10 points. Indianola was just 10-of-18 from the line in the loss.
Marshalltown will take its three straight wins over Fort Dodge, Newton and Indianola into Ames on Friday and Smith hopes to ride the momentum that has been built.
"The start of the season was tough, but the kids have stepped up lately and turned things around," Smith said. "It's a game of momentum and right now we have it."