MOUNT AYR — Bedford weathered the early storm of Diagonal’s perimeter shooting to secure a 56-52 victory in Class 1A District 13 boys action Thursday night.
The Maroons bolted to an early 16-8 lead, spurred by a large turnout of Diagonal fans in the Mount Ayr Community High School gym. By the end of the first period, Bedford’s defense had forced some costly Maroon turnovers and the Bulldogs were in front, 22-19.
The half ended on an eight-point margin and Bedford maintained its edge as the third quarter ended with a 45-36 lead. In the fourth quarter Diagonal’s Kade Klommhaus drained a 3-pointer to cut it to 49-45 with 3:30 left and the Maroons got as close as two points before they were turned away by Bedford free throws down the stretch.
“At the timeout I told the kids, if you want to win this game you’ll have to do it at the free-throw line,” said Bedford coach Frank Sefrit. “I knew they were going to come out ready to play and they were pumped when they shot the ball well early. I told our guys that will go away a little bit, and to just keep pecking away a little bit. We started pressuring the ball a little better and that helped us.”
Brennan Sefrit scored 24 points to lead the Bulldogs. Also finishing in double figures were 6-4 senior Jordan Perkins with 14 points and 6-5 senior Cooper Nally with 10. Sefrit and Perkins each made two 3-pointers.
“They stretch you out so far with all of their shooters and then they have those big guys inside, it’s a heck of a challenge,” said Diagonal coach Matt Warren.
“Obviously the goal was to win, but I think we made a lot of people proud of us. I wanted a shot at the end and we had that.”
Klommhaus scored a game-high 26 points in his final game for the Maroons, including five of the team’s eight 3-pointers. Another senior, Clayton Hansen, tallied 14 points.
“Kade came up huge for us tonight,” Warren said. “Clayton worked hard on defense for us tonight. We matched him up with Nally and he did a heck of a job. We’re going to miss all four of our seniors. The younger guys have some big shoes to fill.”
Tyler Jarred and Cole Mobley join Hansen and Klommhaus as seniors on this year’s Diagonal team that finished 10-12.
Bedford, now 13-9, takes on the district’s No. 2 seed East Mills (19-3) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Mount Ayr in the district semifinals. East Mills got past Lenox Thursday, 71-51.
Bedford 56, Diagonal 52
Bedford (56) — 22 11 12 11
Diagonal (52) — 19 6 11 16
BEDFORD (56) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 19 14-18 56. Brennan Sefrit 7 8-9 24, Jordan Perkins 5 2-2 14, Cooper Nally 3 4-6 10, Owen Lucas 2 0-0 4, Tristan Cummings 2 0-0 4. 3-point goals — 4 (Sefrit 2, Perkins 2). Team fouls — 12. Fouled out — None.
DIAGONAL (52) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 20 4-7 52. Kade Klommhaus 10 1-3 26, Clayton Hansen 5 3-4 14, Tyler Jarred 3 0-0 7, Skyler Stamps 1 0-0 3, Caleb Hubbard 1 0-0 2. 3-point goals — 8 (Klommhaus 5, Jarred 1, Stamps 1, Hansen 1). Team fouls — 17. Fouled out — None.