Despite loss, Mustang girls make like tough for Anderson Co.

Yes, Iola High's girls lost Friday, but a 62-45 loss to Anderson County was vastly different than the Mustangs' opener, when Iola mustered only 17 points against Anderson County in early December.

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February 12, 2024 - 3:18 PM

Iola HIgh's Reese Curry puts up a shot Friday against Anderson County. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

A tough start put Iola High’s girls behind the 8-ball Friday.

The Mustangs had to contend with Anderson County’s pressure defense early on, the Bulldogs were able to seize control with an early 20-7 run.

Iola responded valiantly from there, going toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs, one of the premiere Class 3A teams in the state.

In the end, however, Iola ran out of bullets in a 62-45 setback.

Still, the outcome gives Mustang head coach Kelsey Johnson confidence her team remains on the right track. 

“We are so close,” Johnson said. “We have the talent. Tonight proved we have nine girls who can contribute.”

It marked the first time the Pioneer League rivals had met since Anderson County limited Iola to 17 points in the season-opener in early December.

This time, Iola was able to find a few openings by getting the ball inside to Keira Fawson, Alana Mader and Zoie Hesse.

Fawson matched up frequently with Anderson County standout Kylie Disbrow, and the pair fought to a veritable draw. Fawson scored 17 to lead all scorers; Disbrow had 16.

“We were a little hesitant in the first quarter to do what we’d been practicing all week,” Johnson said. “After that we were much more aggressive.”

But the Bulldogs were able to stay safely ahead with a few well-timed 3-pointers.

Anderson County extended its 13-point lead to 40-22 by halftime. The margin was 51-33 after three quarters.

“I told the girls, I don’t care about those banked-in shots,” Johnson said. “We can’t help that. It’s the little stuff that matters, knowing where we are supposed to be all the time, communicating with each other, not sitting back. It’s hard for the other teams to play with us when we play as hard as we can.”

Mader added 10 points for Iola, while Hesse had seven and Jackie Fager had six.

The key, Johnson said, is to continue that effort into practice and into Tuesday’s game at Osawatomie, and then to next week’s regular season finales at home against Wellsville and then at Santa Fe Trail.

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