The Le Mars boys basketball team sent head coach Dave Irwin out with one last well-fought contest losing their substate quarterfinal on Monday night in overtime at tenth-ranked Bishop Heelan by a final of 49-47.
If there is a perfect way to end a coaching career, it is by winning a state championship. Most coaches do not get that opportunity, so they settle for it to end in fashion like this. Coach Irwin says there was no better way to go out than seeing his team fight through the end against a ranked team.
The Crusaders have been averaging over 60 points per game this season. Le Mars has kept them well under their scoring average in every game they played this season. Coach Irwin says their effort on the defensive end on Monday night was keyed by their ability to limit looks in the paint.
The Bulldogs overcame some big deficits to keep the game close and force extra basketball. The Bulldogs were down seven entering the third quarter and tied it up by the end of the quarter. Then, they started the fourth down seven and finished it outscoring Heelan 8-1 to force overtime. Coach Irwin says patience was the key to making those runs a possibility.
The Bulldog season ends at 4-18 in Coach Irwin’s last season. The transition will begin soon as Bulldog girls basketball coach Cody Dyhrkopp will be taking the reigns next season. Coach Irwin says while he is not the leader of the program anymore, it will still have all the same values next season.
Coach Irwin’s legacy at Le Mars will leave behind a ton of memories and moments that will last a lifetime. He hopes his memory is one of a person who always tried to do the right thing and put his program in the best spot to succeed.
Irwin retires his post with an overall coaching record of 355-247. In his 21 years at Le Mars, he compiled a record of 304-181. The Bulldogs graduate four seniors off this year’s team in Nolen Parmalee, Connor Jalas, Kaden Milbrodt, and Dylan Walking Eagle. Parmalee ended his career as the top scorer on the night leading the Bulldogs with 12 points.
Bishop Heelan moves on in their tournament run with a record of 16-6.