Mustangs come up short again



December 10, 2010 - 12:00 AM

GARNETT — Closer and closer the Iola High Mustangs are getting to that first win of the season.
A 60-47 score doesn’t tell what really is happening on the court for the Mustangs this week. In two losses at the 2010 Anderson County High Invitational, the Mustangs have taken strides forward.
“We’re getting better each game. I never like losing but we’re learning from these losses and making progress,” said Bill Peeper, Mustang coach, after Thursday night’s setback against Burlington High’s Wildcats.
“I’m so pleased with the effort our kids are putting out right now. They played hard and were competitive tonight and really challenged Burlington.”
Iola fell to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the tournament. That puts the Mustangs playing for fifth place against host Anderson County High’s Bulldogs this afternoon at 5:45. The game will be again in the confines of Ralph Meyer Gym at Garnett Elementary School.
As will be the case much of the time this season, the Mustangs went up against a taller team in the Wildcats Thursday. Burlington’s starting lineup had two players at 6-1, then 6-3, 6-4 and 6-5. Iola’s tallest player is 6-3.
Charles Apt, 6-2 senior, worked inside for Iola and scored its first four points. Iola was down 7-5 when Clint Heffern nailed a three-pointer to give Iola its only lead , 8-7, with 4:33 left in the first quarter.
Burlington’s 6-5 senior Blake Thomsen and 6-4 senior Patrick Mahoney had back-to-back three-point plays. Mahoney, who led all scorers with 21 points, put the Wildcats in front 15-8.
Christian Kauth scored for Iola, then Burlington turned the ball over. Braden Larson scored and was fouled by Thomsen. Larson missed the free throw, leaving it 15-12.
One of those steps forward that Peeper pointed out came through at the end of the first quarter. With 20 seconds left, the Mustangs played strong defense, not allowing Burl-ington to get a final shot.
Larson and Corey Taylor scored for the Mustangs in the first two minutes of the second quarter and Iola was within one, 17-16. The Wildcats rolled on a 9-1 sprint to a 26-17 lead by the 2:31 mark. They were up 34-23 at halftime.
Levi Ashmore and Heffern had three-pointers for the Mustangs. But Mahoney and Thomsen answered for the Wildcats, hitting their team’s only threes of the night.
Larson, who fired in 12 points for the Mustangs, scored seven straight points for Iola. The Mustangs trailed 48-36 heading into the fourth quarter.
A field goal by Jarred Latta and a trey from Ashmore made it a seven-point game, 48-41, at the 6:49 mark. The Wildcats went inside to Thomsen, who finished with 11 points, on two straight trips for baskets.
Another three by Ashmore at the 2:27 mark made it an eight-point game. Burlington finished the contest with a 6-1 run.
“We just struggled to get over the hump, to get that stop we needed, or hit the free throw or the big shot,” Peeper said.“I use the word polish a lot but there are a lot of things we need to polish up in our game.”
Burlington had twice as many field goals as Iola. The Mustangs were 10 of 19 at the free throw-line and the Wildcats went 12 of 19.
Iola (12-11-13-11—47) (FG/3-pt: Heffern 0/2-1-3-7, Ashmore 0/3-0-3-9, J. Latta 1-0-1-2, Sigg 0-1-2-1, Taylor 1-0-2-2, Larson 5-2-3-12, C. Kauth 2-1-0-5, Apt 2-5-4-9. TOTALS: 11/5-10-18-47.
Burlington (15-19-14-12—60) (FG/3-pt): Martin 3-3-3-9, Sutherland 1-0-1-2, Mahoney 7/1-4-3-21, Boyce 3-2-4-8, Foster 1-0-0-2, Bluma 3-1-1-7, Ramsey 0-0-1-0, Moore 0-0-2-0, Thomsen 3/1-2-4-11. TOTALS: 21/2-12-17-60.

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