Iola Middle School’s seventh-graders turned a strong effort into a third-place finish at the Pony Stampede Saturday.
Meanwhile, the seventh-grade B team came agonizingly close to making it to the championship game, but fell short in both of its contests on the day to finish fourth.
The tournament wraps up the pre-Thanksgiving schedule for IMS, which resumes action Dec. 2 at home against Independence.
The seventh-grade A team stayed even with Royster through the first half of its opening-round game before the Rockets turned on the jets midway through the second quarter.
A buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Royster gave the Rockets a 17-6 halftime lead in a game they eventually won 31-9.
Madisyn Holloway led Iola with four points. Piper Moore scored three and Mia Aronson two.
Iola responded in a big way in the third-place game. The Ponies led Pittsburg 7-2 after one quarter and 12-6 at halftime. The lead ballooned to 19-10 after three quarters before the Purple Dragons attempted a valiant comeback.
But the comeback came three points short in a 23-20 Ponies victory.
Moore scored 13 points, followed by Kendra Sprague with six and Aronson and Holloway with two each.
“The girls came out and played a pretty good half against Chanute, but we just couldn’t keep it going,” IMS head coach Marty Taylor said. “They came out against Pittsburg and gave a very good effort for four quarters. Piper did a good job of being aggressive against Pittsburg. Mia gave us great energy all day.”
IN THE B TEAM contests, Iola trailed Royster 10-6 through three quarters before Kassy Shelby’s basket in the fourth quarter cut the gap to two.
Chloe Hageman’s shot that would have tied the game instead spun around the rim tantalizingly before dropping out. Katie Weide’s jumper in the last minute also bounced off the rim in the 10-8 defeat.
Kylee Shaw led Iola with three points. Kassy Shelby and Jennifer Tidd both scored two. Weide had one point.
“The girls played hard and got a lot of experience,” Taylor said.
Pittsburg downed the Ponies B team, 18-7, in the third-place game.
Hageman, Weide and Tidd scored two apiece. Shelby had one.
INDEPENDENCE claimed the championship in both the A team and B team divisions, downing Royster squads in both instances.
Independence won the A team title, 35-26, over Royster. The Indy B team prevailed, 27-13.