INDEPENDENCE — Iola High’s Mustangs needed one, maybe two breaks to go their way Monday night. They didn’t and the 2009-2010 basketball season came to an end on the road in substate tournament play.
“When Michael released that shot, I knew it was in and was ready to dance,” said Mustang head coach Steve Taylor about Michael Middleton’s three-point shot at the end of regulation.
“When it bounced up off the rim, I was sure it was going to come down and go in.”
But it didn’t so the Mustangs and Independence High Bulldogs played on. The teams were tied at 40-40 at the end of regulation in a Kansas Class 4A Substate Basketball Tournament contest.
Alec Peterson won the tip-off in overtime and Iola teammate Chris Heffern scored. Those were the only points the Mustangs scored in the four-minute extra period, losing 46-42.
They had opportunities. The Mustangs could not get a shot to go down or they turned the ball over.
The Mustangs played well enough defensively. The Bulldogs had just two baskets to take a 44-42 lead by the 2:24 mark over time, then nothing until the end of the period.
Iola missed a couple dead-on inside shots, a couple of mid-range shots and even free throws with 17.5 seconds left still down two.
When Independence’s Garrett Webster missed on a one-and-one with 15 seconds left, Iola pulled the defensive rebound and called a timeout with 10.4 seconds on the overtime clock.
Kent Toland drove the lane and his pass to Seth Walden was too hard and went out of bounds with 4 seconds remaining. Easton Julian sank both ends of a one-and-one with 3.2 seconds left.
“It pretty well sums up our season. We just couldn’t get breaks to go our way in games likes this. We were in a lot of games this year but couldn’t get the breaks,” Taylor said.
“When you lose your last game of the season like this then have to face those seniors in the locker room, it hurts.”
The Mustangs finish at 5-16 overall and 3-13 in Southeast Kansas League play for eighth place.
Six seniors played their final game for Iola — Seth Browning, Chris Heffern, Kent Toland, Seth Walden, Michael Middleton and Alec Peterson.
It was a close game from the start. Iola pushed out to a 7-2 lead on a three by Middleton and back-to-back baskets by Peterson.
Peterson, Iola’s post player, got into early foul trouble and went to the bench with two fouls midway through the first quarter. A second trey by Middleton moved Iola out to a 10-4 advantage.
The Bulldogs, who are seeded No. 3 in the tournament, rattled off six straight to tie the game. Browning sank one of two free throws with 2:12 left and Toland’s field goal at the buzzer lifted Iola to a 13-10 lead.
The Mustangs saw a 15-11 lead disappear as the Bulldogs went on another run, eight points this time, to change it up 19-15. Middleton connected with 4:32 left then Christian Kauth had two baskets to put Iola back in front 21-19 at the 3:17 mark.
Middleton, who had 11 points in the game, nailed his third three to put Iola up 24-23. Independence’s Julian scored with 31 seconds and the Bulldogs had a 25-24 lead at intermission.
Heffern opened the third quarter hitting a three-pointer and Toland downed two foul shots. A follow shot by Heffern had Iola up 31-27 midway through the period.
Iola didn’t score again in the quarter. Two threes by Independence in the final two minutes gave the Bulldogs the lead, 33-31.
Walden drained a three for Iola to open the then hit both ends of a one-and-one. And the see-saw action continued. When Peterson sank the front end of a one-and-one at the 3:11 mark it tied the game at 37-37.
Turnovers by both teams set up the final run to the buzzer. Dalton Shaffer put Independence up by three on a trey at the 1:26. Walden answered with his second trey and it was 40-40.
Independence ran the clock down to 20 seconds, called timeout to set up a final shot.
“Our kids played great defense at the end of regulation. We got the rebound and had the opportunity to win it with a good look at the basket at the buzzer,” Taylor said.
Independence’s Shaffer drove the lane but missed the shot. Walden came up with the rebound. Middleton’s shot was a bounce away from giving Iola the win in regulation.
“The kids played hard all season and it hurts to lose but to lose one like this,” Taylor said.
It was the second overtime loss to Independence this season, 71-64 at Independence on Feb. 2. Independence won 49-35 in the first meeting of the season.
Iola shot 36 percent, 15 of 42, from the field. The Mustangs hit 6 of 11 free throw attempts as the Bulldogs went 9 of 11 at the line.
Peterson had five rebounds and Walden had three steals. Iola had 16 rebounds and 11 turnovers.
Independence got 17 points from Julian and 10 from Botts.
Independence waits for the results of tonight’s 4A substate games to find out its opponent in Friday’s semifinal at Altamont.
Iola (13-11-7-9-2 (OT) —42) (FG/3-pt): Browning 0-1-0-1, Ch. Heffern 2/1-0-4-7, Toland 2-2-3-6, Kauth 2-0-2-4, S. Walden 0/2-2-2-8, Middleton 1/3-0-4-11, Peterson 2-1-3-5. TOTALS: 9/6-6-18-42.
Independence (10-15-8-7-6 (OT) — 46) (FG/3-pt): Botts 3-4-2-10, Webster 2/1-0-3-7, Dierks 2-1-4-5, Shaffer 2/1-0-2-7, Julian 5/1-4-2-17. TOTALS: 14/3- 9-13-46.
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