The Western Dubuque boys’ basketball team outscored Iowa City, City High, 15-7, over the final five minutes of the game, but the Bobcats’ bid for a come from behind win came up short when Dylan Johnson’s buzzer-beating three to tie the game went off the rim sealing their 51-48 road loss, Jan. 7.

The Bobcats got off to a rough start with issues putting points on the board in the first quarter. Not only did they have trouble shooting the ball, but Garrett Baumhover, the team’s primary ball-handler, got into foul trouble very early in the game. Behind 19-6 after the first quarter and down by 15 points, 23-8, with six minutes left in the first half, the Bobcats slowly started to chip away at the Little Hawks’ lead led by the play of Payton Quagliano who was seeing his first action of the season. Quagliano started the season on the sideline as he was recovering from injuries sustained in football and a car accident.

“We were ready to hit the ground running with him. He’s that kind of kid who can score inside and outside. He’s just a calming factor out there that we need,” said Ben Wilson, the Bobcats’ assistant coach, about Quagliano. “There was a time when we weren’t sure that he was going to be able to play at all this season. For his sake, I’m glad that he’s out there playing.”

Down 30-19 at halftime, the Bobcats had a big hill to climb but they never stopped fighting as they always believed they still had a shot to win.

“We never have to worry about this group playing hard. After Garrett got back on the court in the second half, he got going offensively and so did we. The offense flowed a little more and they just continued to fight,” said Wilson.

Playing with urgency in the fourth quarter, the Bobcats clawed back into the game. They also got help from the Little Hawks’ poor free throw shooting, making just five of 10 attempts with the game on the line.

The Bobcats closed out the game by winning the fourth quarter, 20-11, but it still wasn’t enough to get the victory.

“I don’t think they expected us to come out in the second half and give them as much trouble as we did. The guys kept getting closer and closer and we even had a shot at the end to tie it, but Dylan’s good look at a three rimmed out. After falling into a hole like we did, that’s all you can ask for against a team like Iowa City High.”

Johnson lead the Bobcats in scoring with 17 points while Quagliano, who was four of eight from the field and made one of his two three-point attempts, chipped in with 13 and Baumhover had 12. This was just the second time this season that three Bobcats have scored in double digits in the same game.

WD’s leaders were: points — Johnson 17, Quagliano 13, Baumhover 12, Ben Bryant and Tommy DeSollar two, Nick Bryant and Michael Kraft one; rebounds — Quagliano five, Johnson four, DeSollar three, Ben Bryant, Ploessl and Carson Schute one; assists — Baumhover four, DeSollar three, Johnson, Kraft and Ploessl one; steals — Johnson three, Ben Bryant and DeSollar two, Baumhover and Nick Bryant one.