RICHMOND — Iola High’s girls continue to show improvement on the basketball court, but cold spells early and late doomed the Fillies’ shot at victory Tuesday.
Iola had opened the second half with two straight baskets, the second by Emma Piazza to give the Fillies a 14-13 lead over their hosts from Central Heights High.
But things went south from there.
Central Heights responded with a 10-0 run, then withstood a late Fillies rally to down Iola 25-21.
The loss keeps Iola winless on the season and 0-2 in Pioneer League play.
“I see improvement every game, and the effort is there,” Iola coach Becky Carlson said. “We’ll work on something in practice, and get better at it, but then something else sneaks up and gets us.”
Iola went scoreless for 7 1/2 minutes as Central Heights turned their one-point deficit into a 23-14 lead.
Emery Driskel ended the drought with a three-point play with 6 minutes left to cut the gap to six, 23-17.
Central Heights scored only two points in the last seven minutes of regulation — a pair of free throws by Sydney Myer — but Iola could get no closer than the final four-point margin.
Mikaela Platt drained a pair of free throws for Iola with 39 seconds left in the game, then Jo Lohman connected for a field goal with nine seconds left.
The Vikings played keep-away over the final nine seconds, preventing Iola from fouling before time ran out.
NEITHER TEAM could gain much traction in the early going. Libby Shay had three early points and Platt scored for the Fillies, who trailed 8-5 at the end of one quarter.
Central Heights forged ahead 13-7 in the second quarter, holding Iola without a field goal in the period until Piazza drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the gap to three.
The trey also triggered a 7-0 run that extended into the second half. Hannah Endicott banked in a shot 80 seconds into the third quarter, followed about a minute later by Piazza’s bucket that put Iola in front, albeit briefly.
Whitney Kraus responded with a basket for Central Heights, putting the Vikings back in front for good.
The Fillies lost the services of Shay late in the contest. The senior guard injured her knee while driving to the basket with less than 3 minutes remaining.
“We’re hoping it’s just a sprain,” Carlson said.
Piazza led Iola with five points. Platt had four, and Lohman, Shay and Driskel had three apiece. Platt and Endicott each had four rebounds. Piazza and Shay both had three steals. Driskel, Lexie Long and Moore had two steals apiece.
“Mikaela gave us a spark off the bench, and I liked Emery’s hustle tonight,” Carlson said.
Brianna Erhart paced Central Heights with eight points. Sydney Meyer scored seven.
Iola won the junior varsity contest 32-6. Lexie Long scored nine points to pace the JV squad, followed by Endicott and Platt with six points each and Piazza with five. Ashlie Shields scored four and Lohman had two.
The Fillies return home Friday to host Prairie View.
Central Heights (8-5-8-4—25)
Iola (FG/3pt-FT-F-TP): Moore 0-1-4-1, Piazza 1/1-0-0-5, Lohman 1-1-3-3, Shay 1-1-1-3, Ford 0-0-1-0, Endicott 1-0-3-2, Platt 1-2-1-4, Driskel 1-1-4-1, Sigg 0-0-1-0. TOTALS: 6/1-6-17-21.
Central Heights (FG-FT-F-TP): Erhart 3-2-1-8, Kraus 2-0-3-4, Markley 2-0-2-4, Meyer 2-3-3-7, Hayward 1-0-1-2. TOTALS: 10-5-10-25.