Iola girls win Senior Night thriller

Iola High's girls received clutch contributions up and down the lineup in a come-from-behind victory. The Mustangs will travel to Santa Fe Trail Thursday before traveling to Humboldt next Tuesday to open the Class 3A postseason.



February 21, 2024 - 2:48 PM

Iola High's Keira Fawson, right, finds an opening to put up the tie-breaking shot for the Mustangs late in their 41-37 win over Wellsville Tuesday. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

The calendar says it’s only February, but Iola High’s girls gave the home crowd a heaping helping of March Madness Tuesday.

The Mustangs, in their final home game of the season, came down the stretch in a come-from-behind 41-37 victory.

There were plenty of sterling individual performances to pull out the victory, Iola head coach Kelsey Johnson said.

“Oh my gosh, we had a ton of huge plays,” Johnson said. “We had so many step up for us.”

The last minute alone was one for the storybooks. Senior Keira Fawson snapped a 37-37 deadlock with her short jumper from the lane with 36 seconds left.

The teams then traded stolen inbound passes over the next 15 seconds of game time.

Iola’s Elza Clift gave the Mustangs possession after Wellsville called timeout with 25 ticks showing. But Taylor Spring returned the favor for the Eagles when she swiped the ball moments later.

Iola High’s Kyndal Bycroft, left, forces a traveling call in a pivotal sequence late in the Mustangs’ 41-37 win over Wellsville Tuesday.Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

All that stood between Spring and  an uncontested layup to tie the score was Iola defender Kyndal Bycroft.

Bycroft stood her ground as the players collided. 

“I was just trying to get my feet set to draw the charge,” she said. “I thought they were calling a foul on me.”

Instead, the official ruled Spring had shuffled her feet as she put up the shot. The traveling call returned possession to Iola.

With Wellsville forced to foul, Iola’s Reese Curry went to the line with 12 seconds left. She drained both free throws for the final margin.

Curry pointed to one of the team’s traditions in practice as inspiration.

“A lot of times in practice, if you miss a free throw, you have to run,” she laughed. “That’s what I thought of at that moment. I was just glad they went in.”

A TOUGH second quarter put Iola in arrears, 26-18, at the break.