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WATERLOO -- A furious comeback wasn't enough for Waterloo East, which dropped a 69-59 contest to Dubuque Hempstead in boys' basketball Tuesday.

The Mustangs, ranked 10th in Class 4A, imposed their will against the Trojans early. They hit six 3-pointers in the first quarter and converted several steals into easy layups, opening up a 43-22 lead at the half.

But after being easily dissected early on, the East defense turned things around coming out of the locker room. After forcing just four first-half turnovers, the Trojans forced 10 in the third quarter, including seven in the first 4:15 of the period.

The offense did its part to make it a game as well, with Tyrese Nickelson, as usual, carrying the load. After Nickelson, who finished with 23 points, hit his fourth 3-pointer, the deficit had been cut all the way down to 61-55 with 2:25 to play.

But that would be as close as East would get, as Keith Johnson, who had a game-high 25 points and six steals, kick started a 6-0 run with an easy layup.

Ramon Harrington finished with 11 points for East, while Jacee Clark and TreyShawn LaBeaux each had eight. Clark, Harrington, LaBeaux and DaQuavion Walker each finished with two steals.

Now 3-3, the Trojans travel to face Iowa City West, the top-ranked team in 4A, on Friday.

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