BURLINGTON — Iola High’s struggles early on Tuesday accounted to a simple, painful fact, head coach Bill Peeper said.
“We sat back and let things happen to us,” he said, “instead of going out and making things happen.”
Host Burlington was all too willing to take advantage.
The Wildcats built a 10-point lead within the game’s first 4½ minutes. The margin grew to as much as 22 early in the third quarter.
Iola responded, but their resulting rally never could get Burlington’s lead back under 10 in a 76-61 loss.
The defeat, Iola’s second in a row in the young 2012-13 season, comes in the opening round of Burlington’s preseason tournament.
Iola returns to action tonight at Burlington to take on Louisburg. A win puts the Mustangs in the third-place game at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Burlington High School. A loss drops them into the fifth-place game at 6:15 Friday at Burlington Middle School.
“We just played so poorly in the first half that we never gave ourselves a chance,” Peeper said. “We had four defensive rebounds at halftime. You’re not going to beat a sixth-grade team doing that.
“We weren’t ready for the speed or intensity,” he continued. “It was disappointing and frustrating.”
Burlington’s Ryan Redding was a particular sore spot for the Mustangs. He scored the game’s first six points, and his 3-pointer at the 3:33 mark of the first period gave Burlington an 11-point lead at 13-2.
He drained another 3-pointer with two minutes left in the half to give the Wildcats a 20-point cushion for the first time at 33-13.
The Mustangs’ Tyler Powelson prevented the game from getting out of hand. He scored six points in the second quarter — part of his team-high 19 for the game — including a number of nifty inside shots just out of reach of Burlington post player, 6-foot, 6-inch Ian Schepers.
A bucket by Burlington’s Kor bin Ratzlaff to open the second half gave Burlington a 22-point lead.
A Levi Ashmore free throw followed by a Powelson bucket inside triggered a 17-6 run. Powelson’s rebound and putback closed the gap to 46-35 with 2½ minutes left in the third.
But Redding answered again, connecting a jumper followed a minute later by a 3-pointer.
Even a half-court buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Tyler McIntosh at the close of the third quarter could only cut the lead back down to 54-43.
The margin see-sawed between 11 and 15 points through the fourth quarter.
“We played better in the second half,” Peeper said. “We showed what we were capable of compared to the team we were in the first half. We made things way too easy for (Burlington) early on.”
Mason Coons drained three 3-pointers in the second half to add 11 points for the Mustangs. He and Powelson both corralled nine rebounds. Kauth chipped in with nine points.
Ashmore dished out five assists with two steals. Coons also had two steals, as did Trent Latta.
Redding and Ratzlaff took turns as catalysts for Burlington’s offense. Redding poured in 30 points, while Ratzlaff added 26.
Iola (FG/3pt-FT-F-TP): Latta 0/1-0-4-3, Ashmore 2-4-4-8, Coons 0/3-2-5-11, McIntosh 0/1-2-4-5, Macha 2-0-0-4, Kauth 4-1-2-9, Powelson 9-1-1-19, Grover 0-2-0-2. TOTALS: 17/5-12-21-61.
Burlington (FG-3pt-FT-F-TP): Redding 8/2-8-4-30, Mahoney 0-4-2-4, Meyer 3-0-3-6, Ratzlaff 5/4-4-1-26, P. Beyer 0-0-4-0, J. Beyer 0-2-0-2, Schepers 4-0-1-8. TOTALS: 20/6-18-15-76
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