Iola High’s Mustangs weren’t able to complete a comeback against Osawatomie in a 57-43 loss Tuesday night.
Trailing 31-14 at the half, it looked as if it was going to be another big win for Iola’s opponent. After beating Santa Fe Trail Feb. 3, the Mustangs are on a four-game skid. But, they didn’t make Tuesday’s loss easy.
“I’m pleased to see what we came out with tonight. As we’ve talked, we’re at that place where you’re not sure what to expect,” head coach Bill Peeper said. “The easy way out is to fold it up and call it over and start warming up the bats and the golf clubs.
“But, I was pleased to see that we had a little something inside tonight. We (the coaches) challenged them pretty hard before the game to demonstrate that there’s still value in this season and it’s not done. There’s something to be gained not only for tonight, but next week and the week after that, as well as years down the road with the young guys.”
Iola started the second half on an 11-2 run. Kaden Macha turned things around for the Mustangs with a quick 3-pointer to open up the third quarter. Ben Cooper followed on the next possession by scoring on a drive.
Macha then looked like he was going to connect on a short-range jumper, but an Osawatomie defender hit the ball off the rim. It was called goaltending and Iola was awarded the basket. Peterson scored on his own putback. After a quick basket by the Trojans, Cooper answered with a 3-pointer. Macha ended the run by draining two free throws. Iola trailed 33-28 with 3:30 to go in the half.
After a Peterson turnaround jumper with 10 seconds left, it appeared the Mustangs could go into halftime down four points. However, Osawatomie’s Sheldon Booe hit a 3-pointer as time expired.
After the third quarter, Iola was down 39-32.
With 3:25 left in the fourth, the Trojans led the Mustangs 46-36. Iola’s Cooper kept the Mustangs in the game with another 3-pointer. After Peterson hit the front end of a free throw of a one-and-one, Iola was down 46-40 with two minutes left. On the Trojan’s next possession, Morgan Soucie scored underneath the hoop to give Osawatomie an eight-point lead. Soucie lit up the Mustangs for a game-high 21 points.
Iola wasn’t able to get any closer and had to start fouling to stop the clock. The Trojans won 57-43.
It was a much better effort for the Mustangs than the last time these two teams played. Osawatomie beat Iola 56-36 on Jan. 10.
“I felt like this intensity and effort was so much better. If we play like that, we can still accomplish something,” Peeper said. “Laying down and dying the way we have the last couple of games hasn’t demonstrated that it’s to any advantage to us. I was glad to see us respond and do some things positive.”
Iola (4-14) plays at Wellsville next Tuesday.
“It will definitely be a tough game,” Peeper said. “They’re solid and haven’t lost in the league yet. They’re a solid bunch. (Osawatomie) is pretty good and Wellsville is even better. That’s the nature of it. We’ve got to show up to play whoever and wherever.”
IOLA’S JV Mustangs lost 45-37. Cole Regehr led the team with 10 points. Joey Zimmerman followed with nine points. Brice Aiello scored five points and Isaiah Fawson added three. Ben Cooper, Rhett Allen and Evan Sigg each scored two points.
THE FRESHMEN MUSTANGS lost 52-51. Iola was down two late, but Osawatomie made a basket to go up four points. Issac Vink hit a 3-pointer to bring the game to within one point. An Iola turnover sealed the win for Osawatomie. Evan Sigg led the team with 17 points, while Vink followed with 16. Matt Komma scored six points, Zach Cokely added five and Caden Knavel scored four. Cale Barnhart scored a basket and Ethan Tavarez added a free throw.