- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Cordell Pemsl scored 23 points, Josh Carter added 14 and top-ranked Dubuque Wahlert Catholic rallied to beat Central Clinton 67-57 Saturday night and win the Class 3A state championship.

Wahlert (23-4) overcame an eight-point deficit to grab the lead late in the third quarter and held the fourth-ranked Sabers (23-4) without a field goal for 8 minutes en route to its fourth state title.

Pemsl, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, scored twice on layups and came up with a big offensive rebound during a game-turning 14-3 run.

Central Clinton led 42-39 after Christian Wright’s 3-pointer with 2:42 left in the third quarter. But it did not make another basket until Marty Green’s layup with 2:44 remaining.

Kyle Bauer led Central Clinton with 17 points.

It was Wahlert’s first championship since 2008, when the Golden Eagles beat Harlan 70-67 on former Iowa player Eric May’s 40-footer at the buzzer.

No such heroics were needed this time, though it certainly wasn’t easy for a talented Wahlert team that had won its first two games at state by margins of 22 and 31 points and defeated Central Clinton 54-47 during the regular season.

Central Clinton went 5 for 5 from 3-point range in the first quarter in building a 19-14 lead. It led 26-18 after Trevor Green hit a 3 midway through the second quarter.

Despite the dominance of the athletic Pemsl and the 6-foot-5 Carter inside, Central Clinton stayed ahead until Wahlert picked up its defensive pressure. That, coupled with the Golden Eagles’ ability to score in the paint, was too much for the Sabers.

Carter converted a three-point play on a drive, the ball rolling twice around the rim before dropping in. Pemsl followed with a layup and Tyler Potts knocked down a 3, making it 47-42.

Central Clinton drew to 61-57 on Wright’s 3 with 54 seconds left. But Wahlert easily broke the Sabers’ press to get a layup for Pemsl and the Golden Eagles soon began celebrating their championship.

Nolan Timp finished with 12 points for Wahlert, which outrebounded Central Clinton 33-21 and owned an overwhelming 36-18 edge in points in the lane.

That close-in scoring enabled Wahlert to shoot 69.6 percent in the second half (16-for-23) and 53.2 percent for the game.

Wright finished 4-for-6 on 3-pointers and scored 14 points for the Sabers, who won a state championship in 1981 in their only other appearance in the finals.

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