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PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Sheldon advances to state final
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sports Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Sheldon Orabs boys basketball team advanced to the Iowa Class 2A state championship game with a 49-42 victory over the Carroll Kuemper Catholic Knights in the semifinals Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena.

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Second-seeded Sheldon improved to 24-3 overall and will play top-seeded and undefeated West Fork, Sheffield (26-0) in the 2A title game at 8:05 p.m. tonight at Wells Fargo Arena.

Dallas Ennema led the Orabs with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists. The 6-foot-7 senior also blocked four of Sheldon's eight shot blocks in the game, but exited with an ankle injury early in the third quarter before returning in the final frame.

Senior guard Chris Balster stepped up in Ennema's absence and provided six of Sheldon's eight points in the third quarter, helping the Orabs maintain a six-point advantage (34-28) entering the final frame. Balster scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half and added three assists.

Kuemper Catholic, which held the lead through the game's first 4 minutes but trailed after each quarter, cut the deficit to one (43-42) with 1:07 left after Riley Bach (10 points) converted a 3-point play following a drive to the hoop.

However, Balster immediately responded for Sheldon with his own slash to the basket seven seconds later, increasing the Orabs' lead to three.

Ennema and Balster combined to sink 4 of 6 fouls shots in the final minute to help the Orabs ice the contest, while the Knights struggled at the stripe down the stretch. Sheldon shot 72 percent (18-for-25) as a team from the free-throw line.

Kuemper Catholic made 17 of 27 foul shots in the game, but entered the second half shooting 75 percent (9-for-12). The Knights, who made 4 of 10 3-pointers and shot 47 percent from the field in their 61-54 quarterfinal victory over Nodaway Valley, struggled with their shots Thursday despite outrebounding Sheldon by a 35-22 margin.

The Orabs limited the Knights to 1 of 12 on 3's and 12-for-41 from the field. Sheldon made 43 percent of its field goals (15-for-35).

Sam Brincks led Kuemper Catholic with 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Cole Dreary and Chris Halbur (three blocks, two steals and two assists) topped the Knights' rebounding chart with nine each.

James Gradert grabbed eight rebounds to lead Sheldon. The 6-8 senior also scored nine points, including a dunk early in the third quarter.

Sheldon's opponent in the Class 2A championship game, West Fork, Sheffield, beat Dike-New Hartford 45-36 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday before advancing to the finals with a 51-38 victory over M-F-L Marmac on Thursday.

SHELDON 49,

KUEMPER CATHOLIC 42

KUEMPER CATHOLIC (17-9): Ludwig 2-5 0-0 5, Drees 0-1 1-2 1, Neary 3-11 1-5 7, Brincks 4-7 11-14 19, Halbur 0-7 0-0 0, Irlbeck 0-0 0-0 0, Gunnerson 0-3 0-0 0, Bach 3-7 4-6 10. Totals: 12-41 (29%) 17-27 (63%) 42.

SHELDON (24-3): Oostra 1-2 0-1 2, Balster 4-6 6-9 14, Da. Ennema 6-14 8-9 21, Dykstra 1-4 0-0 2, Gradert 3-6 3-4 9, Dy. Ennema 0-0 0-0 0, Wolthuizen 0-1 0-0 0, Brown 0-2 1-2 1. Totals: 15-35 (43%) 18-25 (72%) 49.

Kuemper 13 7 8 14 -- 42

Sheldon 16 10 8 15 -- 49

3-Point Goals: Kuemper 1-12 (8%) (Ludwig 1-4, Halbur 0-5, Neary 0-2, Drees 0-1); Sheldon 1-4 (25%) (Da. Ennema 1-2, Balster 0-1, Dykstra 0-1). Rebounds: Kuemper 35 (Halbur 9, Neary 9, Brincks 8, Bach 4, Ludwig 3); Sheldon 24 (Gradert 8, Da. Ennema 6, Oostra 3, Wolthuizen 3, Dykstra 2, Brown). Total Fouls (Fouled Out): Kuemper 20 (Bach); Sheldon 22 (Oostra, Gradert). Technical Fouls: None. Assists: Kuemper 4 (Halbur 2, Drees, Neary); Sheldon 8 (Da. Ennema 4, Balster 3, Dykstra). Steals: Kuemper 3 (Halbur 2, Neary); Sheldon 2 (Da. Ennema, Gradert). Blocked Shots: Kuemper 5 (Halbur 3, Brincks 2); Sheldon 8 (Da. Ennema 4, Wolthuizen 2, Brown, Gradert). Turnovers: Kuemper 11; Sheldon 9.

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