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CHARLES CITY — Despite its stellar 23-1 record and glossy No. 5 ranking, Aplington-Parkersburg had to prove Monday that it belongs in the Class 2A boys’ state basketball tournament.

Garner-Hayfield-Ventura made certain of that.

The Cardinals battled the Falcons to the finish before A-P secured a 65-60 victory for its first state tourney berth in three seasons.

“I’m just so proud of these kids and their effort and determination,” said Falcons coach Aaron Thomas.

Aplington-Parkersburg jumped out to a 19-11 first-quarter lead and a 36-22 halftime cushion. Carter Cuvelier led the charge, but the Falcons also got key contributions off their bench from Junior Bodden, who made an impact with his offense, defense and rebounding.

“He played hard and his rebounds were huge tonight and he gave it his all,” said Thomas.

Bodden a Honduras native and foreign exchange student, scored all six of his points in the first half, but was effective on defense throughout the whole night.

“As a player, any way I can help my team with scoring is good but I know that I can really help by playing good defense,” said Bodden.

The Falcons kept attacking in the third period, drawing numerous fouls and stretching their lead to 54-34 before G-H-V stormed back.

The Cardinals mounted a 23-6 run in the first six minutes of the final quarter to pull within 60-57 with 2:10 remaining.

The Falcons fended off the ferocious comeback with Cuvelier and Alec Oberhauser providing key free throws down the stretch.

“I think we got too passive and that was probably my fault,” said Thomas. “Carter and Alec went to the line and made free throws and finished it for us. They really earned it in the end.”

Aplington-Parkersburg will take a nine-game winning streak into the state tournament.

“I was in eighth grade last time we went to state,” said Cuvelier, who ended Monday night as the game’s leading scorer with 20 points while Oberhauser added 17 and Aaron Price 12.

“We’re just happy to keep up the tradition that has been started of going to state. We’re just looking forward to the opportunity to be going there. It’s something you dream about as a kid and I’m just so glad this team is blessed enough to be going to state.”

Apl.-Park. 65, GH-V 60

APLINGTON-PARKERSBURG (23-1) — Grant Truax 2 0-0 4, Carter Cuvelier 6 4-6 20, Aaron Price 4 2-2 12, Colby Hoff 2 0-0 6, Alec Oberhauser 4 9-12 17, Junior Boden 3 0-0 6, Sam Bachman 0 0-0 0, Dylan Ellis 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 15-20 65.

GARNER-HAYFIELD-VENTURA (20-5) — Connor Burke 3 2-2 9, Nick Joynt 7 1-2 15, Ryan Meyers 2 0-1 4, Jared Graham 1 0-0 2, James Betz 7 1-2 16, Jonah Albertson 3 0-0 7, Matthew Heinemann 0 0-0 0, Colten Scroeder 1 1-2 3, Ray Citaldo 2 0-0 4. Totals 26 5-9 60.

Apl.-Park. 19 17 18 11 — 65

G-H/Ventura 11 11 12 26 — 60

3-point goals — A-P 6 (Cuvelier 2, Price 2, Hoff 2), GH-V 5 (Citaldo 2, Albertson 1, Burke 1, Betz 1). Total fouls — A-P 12, GH-V 20. Fouled out —Meyers.


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