PARSONS — For the first time, Iola Middle School’s Ponies won the annual Winter Classic tournament. This year’s was hosted by Parsons Middle School Saturday.
The IMS eighth-grade Ponies dealt out a 23-17 loss to Independence to open the Classic. Iola led 9-3 at halftime.
“After they (Independence) beat us last week, we worked in practice on playing tough and that’s what we did,” said Marty Taylor, IMS head coach.
“Except for putting the ball in the hole, this was by far our best effort of the year. We flat out got after it on defense.”
Iola was just 8 of 52 from the field and 6 of 18 at the free-throw line against Independence.
Adam Kauth dumped in 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Trent Latta had six points followed by three from Tyler McIntosh. Bryan Mueller and John Whitworth each had two points.
Whitworth handled five rebounds and Tyler Powelson had four rebounds.
Iola took on Columbus in the championship game. The Ponies found themselves behind 8-2 by the end of the first quarter.
“We had to scratch and claw in this game. The boys never gave up and took control in the fourth quarter,” Taylor said.
The Ponies were down 11-7 at halftime and began their comeback in the third quarter. Iola outscored Columbus 6-2 in the period to forge a 13-13 tie.
Iola fired in 13 points in the fourth quarter while holding Columbus to just six points. Iola won 26-19.
“Tyler Powelson had a tough first half but he came out and had a great second half. When things weren’t going well, the kids didn’t hang their heads. They played hard all day.”
McIntosh led Iola with nine points followed by Powelson with six points and five rebounds. Latta added five points.
Kauth had four points and four rebounds. Whitworth tossed in two points. Mueller had three rebounds.
“We gave up 36 points against the two highest scoring teams in our league, that’s how you win basketball games,” Taylor said.
Iola (7-2) go back to Parsons today for regular season games. The IMS teams travel to Coffeyville on Tuesday.
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