COLO - The Colo-NESCO boys’ basketball team couldn’t get the key stops it needed down the stretch to fend off Janesville in a 52-49 loss to the Wildcats Feb. 6 on senior night at Colo.

The Royals (12-8) were outscored 30-16 to close out the game after building a 33-22 lead early in the third quarter. Colo-NESCO went to leading scorer Matthew Hill for seven consecutive points to start the third, but Janesville held him to five points the rest of the way to get back in the game.

“We really wanted to establish (Hill) in the post in the second half and I thought we did that, but when went away from it and we started missing those little bunnies, obviously at the end of the game it ended up hurting us,” Colo-NESCO assistant boys’ basketball coach Brandon Eley said. “Give credit to Janesville. They really started sucking down on Matt and double-teaming him in the post — it made it hard on him to do his moves.”

Janesville pulled within 37-36 late in the third quarter.

A Philip Bower basket to end the quarter, followed by two Hill baskets and a Sean Cutler 3-pointer early in the fourth, helped Colo-NESCO go back up by five. But Janesville crept back within one, then took a 48-46 lead on a Josh Hahn 3-pointer with 2:06 remaining.

Bower tied the score 43 seconds later with a basket, but Hahn struck again to put the Wildcats back on top. Hill made 1 of 2 free throws with 17 seconds left to pull the Royals within one, but Hahn answered with two timely foul shots four seconds later.

Colo-NESCO set up for a tying 3-point attempt on the ensuing possession. But the Royals couldn’t get a good look as Bower’s desperation heave from the top of the key hit the front of the rim and bounced away to end the game.

“I thought our kids played super hard,” Eley said. “Can’t fault the effort, just credit to Janesville.”

The Royals shot 49 percent from the field and held a 26-20 rebounding advantage. But Janesville made four 3-pointers to two for Colo-NESCO and the Wildcats were also disruptive defensively inside with seven blocks.

Colo-NESCO ended the regular season with two close losses. The Royals also fell to Roland-Story at home on Feb. 3, 42-39.

“This is a good game for us,” Eley said. “Janesville is a good team — they’ve battled all year in the Iowa Star Conference North (Division). Our kids know what we’re up against — it’s going to come down to effort and heart. Our kids don’t want to go home and don’t want to have the seniors go out early in the postseason.”

Hill finished with 14 points and five rebounds against Janesville. Jacob Clatt led the Royals with 17 points, seven boards and one block; Bower had eight points and seven assists and Cutler eight points and two steals.

Janesville went to 15-6. Codey Hicks led the Wildcats against the Royals with 16 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks; Hahn tallied 12 points and Caden Conrad chipped in 11 points and five blocks.

Janesville 52, Colo-NESCO 49

J 14 6 16 16 - 52

CN 11 15 13 10 - 49

Janesville (52) - Josh Hahn 4-10 3-4 12, Dawson Charley 2-2 0-0 5, Peyton Meyer 0-4 0-0 0, Caden Conrad 5-7 1-1 11, Sam Seedorff 2-4 0-0 6, Codey Hicks 7-10 2-3 16, Tanner Snitker 0-1 0-0 0, Jameson Conover 0-5 0-0 0, Keigan Feldmann 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 21-44 6-8 52. 3-point field goals (4): Seedorff 2, Hahn, Charley. Rebounds (20): Hicks 13. Assists (12): Seedorff 2, Hicks 2. Steals (3): Conrad, Hicks, Snitker. Blocks (7): Conrad 5. Fouls: 13.

Colo-NESCO (49) - Kelly Gray 0-2 0-0 0, Philip Bower 2-7 4-6 8, Sean Cutler 3-5 0-0 8, Mason Lytle 1-4 0-0 2, Matthew Hill 6-11 2-4 14, Jacob Clatt 7-9 3-3 17, Bryce Niemeyer 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 19-39 9-13 49. 3-point field goals (2): Cutler 2. Rebounds (26): Clatt 7. Assists (11): Bower 7. Steals (7): Bower 2, Culter 2. Blocks (1): Clatt. Fouls: 14.