No doubt about it, the Ankeny boys’ basketball team got hot at the right time and never cooled off.
The sixth-seeded Hawks completed an amazing run to the Class 4A state title with a 78-70 victory over No. 4 Waukee in the championship game on Friday at Wells Fargo Arena. It’s the program’s second crown and comes on the 25th anniversary of the first one in 1995.
“It’s the best feeling I’ve had in my whole basketball career,” said Ankeny guard Braxton Bayless. “It’s something I can look forward to when I’m 30 and just look back. It’s awesome.”
Bayless scored 16 points before fouling out and was named the captain of the all-tournament team. He poured in 68 points as his team posted three wins in three days–all of which came against higher seeds.
Jordan Kumm also had 16 points and dished out nine assists for the Hawks, who finished the season at 21-5. Jaxon Smith had 14 points, Ryan Crandell chipped in 13, and Nolan Otten added 12.
Ankeny made 10-of-17 3-point tries one night after going 12-for-22 from behind the arc in the semifinals against Cedar Falls. Kumm led the way by going 3-for-4.
“I think it was just our time,” Kumm said. “I shot pretty poorly in the games before, and Braxton stepped up pretty well in the first game (against Iowa City West). And then Jaxon and I pulled through toward the end.”
Payton Sandfort scored 23 points to lead Waukee (23-3), while Tucker DeVries added 19–all of them in the final 10 minutes. They were both selected to the all-tournament team.
Ankeny Centennial’s Cody McCullough and Cedar Falls’ Landon Wolf were the other all-tournament picks. McCullough led the Jaguars to a fourth-place finish in their state tournament debut.
Check back later for more coverage of the title game.