It’s only rumor that Iola High’s custodial staff was able to turn off the school’s heating system midday through Friday’s game because Jimmy Dorsey, Wellsville’s junior sharpshooter, was shooting so hot it was sufficient to keep the small crowd toasty.
Dorsey came through with several clutch 3-pointers to propel the Eagles to a 59-55 win over the Mustangs.
The defeat drops Iola to 4-2 on the season.
While Iola did a good job of defending against Wellsville, Dorsey’s range caught the Mustangs off guard on multiple occasions.
“He surprised us a couple of times” by firing from well beyond the 3-point line, before defenders could close on him, IHS head coach Luke Bycroft explained.
“Overall,, we played pretty well,” Bycroft said, pointing to two keys. Wellsville was able to get its outside shots to fall, while Iola struggled to convert its open looks inside.
A few killer fouls didn’t help matters.
Iola was trailing 52-47 with 5 minutes remaining when the Mustangs’ Landon Carson managed a steal at midcourt. He led a defender on the way to the basket for a layup, but was called for an offensive foul after the officials ruled he pushed off the Eagle defender on the way to the basket.
Dorsey responded with a lightning fast drive to the hoop to push the Eagle advantage to seven.
But Iola didn’t go quietly into the night.
Tyler Boeken converted a three-point play with 2:50 left on the clock to close the gap to four. Dorsey responded with a pair of free throws, before Iola’s Jack Adams drilled a 3-pointer with a minute left to pare the lead to 56-53.
Adams then drew a key charge as Wellsville drove upcourt, giving Iola possession.
The elation didn’t last long. Carson was whistled for another offensive foul as he drove to the hoop and passed off to a teammate as he collided with the Eagle defender.
Kaden O’Neill hit a free throw for Wellsville on its possession to push the lead back to four.
Carson scored on a drive with 19 seconds remaining, again cutting the deficit to two.
But Jackson Showalter’s free throws with 18 seconds left cinched the win. Iola missed on a pair of shots on its next possession, and the Eagles were able to run out the clock.
Dorsey’s 28 points were key, but he was hardly the only one clicking from downtown.
He and Showalter hit back-to-back treys late in the first half as part of an 11-4 run to push Wellsville on top, 28-26 at intermission.
The Eagle run continued after the break. Dorsey and Showalter both hit 3’s early in the third quarter to increase the lead to 36-28.
“Those 3’s turned momentum,” Bycroft said.
But Iola had a few tricks up its sleeve as well.
Dillon Bycroft drilled a 3-pointer to close the deficit to 36-31. Bradyn Cole was next with a bucket, and then Adams connected on a pull-up 3 to cap the 8-0 Iola run.
This time it was Willie Dorsey’s turn to step up for the Eagles, hitting a 3-pointer to re-establish a 39-36 lead.
Jimmy Dorsey’s trey made it 44-38 early in the fourth quarter. Adams hit a 3, then Carson scored on consecutive possession, and suddenly the score was knotted at 45-45.
Alas, Dorsey was there with another 3-pointer for the answer, giving Wellsville the advantage the rest of the way.
“We fought back,” Coach Bycroft said. We were frustrated at times at not getting calls, and they hit a couple of shots in a row to stretch the lead, but we battled back. That’s what I’m most proud of.”
Bycroft also carried high praise for Cole, who was effective at combating Wellsville’s lanky defenders with an assortment of short-range jumpers on the way to scoring 18 points.
Likewise, Adams complemented his typical sterling defensive performance with several key shots. Adams racked up seven steals to go with his nine points, hitting both of his 3-point attempts.
“He has a lot of energy,” Bycroft said. “His defense is almost always there, and his offense was great tonight.”
Carson followed with 14 points, while Boeken scored eight points to go with 14 rebounds. Dillon Bycroft dished out seven assists.
“Overall, we played pretty well,” Coach Bycroft said. “We played through the physicality. If we could have gotten a couple of shots to fall here, or get them to miss a shot there, it’s an entirely different ballgame.”
Showalter finished with 11, while Ian Smith had nine for the Eagles.
WELLSVILLE prevailed, 40-34, in the junior varsity contest. Sam Fager scored 12, Travis Wanker six, Cody Wille five and Kyler Mittelmeier four for the Mustang JV. Mac Leonard chipped in with three. Eli Adams and Landon Weide had two each.
LANDON WEIDE scored 21 and Isaac McCullough 17 to propel Iola’s C team to a 59-40 win.
Korbin Cloud and Mac Leonard followed with six apiece, Ashton Hesse had four, Will Talkington and Kolton Greathouse two each and Casey Rowe one.
IOLA, Humboldt, Marmaton Valley and St. Paull will partake in a round-robin tournament next week at rotating sites. The Mustangs and Fillies (who did not play Friday) will travel to Marmaton Valley Tuesday to take on St. Paul. Humboldt and Marmaton Valley play each other.
The scene shifts to Humboldt on Thursday, with Iola slated to play Marmaton Valley and Humboldt squaring off with St. Paul.
Finally, the fun hits Iola on Friday, with Iola hosting Humboldt and Marmaton Valley taking on St. Paul.
Wellsville (12-16-13-18—59) (FG/3pt): Kearney 0-0-1-0, Dorsey 4/6-2-1-28, W. Dorsey 0/1-0-2-3, O’Neil 0/1-3-3-6, Showalter 2/1-4-0-11, Smith 3-3-3-9, Reed 1-0-1-2, 10/9-12-12-59.
Iola (12-14-12-17—55) (FG/3pt): Bycroft 0/2-0-4-6, Adams 1/2-1-2-9, Fager 0-0-1-0, Louk 0-0-1-0, Cole 9-0-1-18, Carson 2/2-4-4-14, Boeken 2-4-5-8. TOTALS: 14/6-9-18-55.