Iola High’s Mustangs struggle to find ways to win games. For the third game in a row, the Mustangs had a victory in sight only let it slip away.
Making up last Friday’s scheduled Southeast Kansas League contest with Labette County High’s Grizzlies, the Mustangs carried a 20-16 lead in at halftime here Thursday. It was 23-18 with 4:51 left in the third quarter when the Grizzlies closed the period on a 12-0 run.
Labette County held a 10-point margin until the wanning moments. Iola hit three threes down the stretch but the Grizzlies sealed a road win at the free-throw line, downing 6 of 8 in the last 40 seconds for a 48-38 win.
“We didn’t execute our offense in about a 10-minute span and the game got away from us,” said Steve Taylor, Mustang head coach.
“Our defense was solid again tonight.”
The loss comes on the heels of a disappointing overtime loss at Independence on Tuesday. The Mustangs are 2-8 in SEK play and 4-10 overall.
Tonight, the Mustangs are at Columbus in league action.
“We’re really close but we don’t know how to win and take that next step,” Taylor said.
The Mustangs found themselves down 4-1 to the visiting Grizzlies from Altamont. Kent Toland, who had 11 points in the game, scored then Michael Middleton drilled the first of three treys.
Middleton had the hot hand in the first half. He finished with 12 points for the Mustangs.
Charles Apt used a pass from Seth Walden to score in transition for a 10-6 lead for Iola. Middleton ripped a three and the Mustangs led 13-8 at the close of the period.
Middleton hit another three then a field goal to up Iola’s margin to 18-8 at the 5:20 mark. The Mustangs held a 20-16 lead at the break.
Neither team was productive early in the third quarter. Iola’s three points — a free throw by Middleton and a basket by Toland — came between the sixth and fifth minute mark.
Then nothing. The Grizzlies took control.
Iola shot 33 percent, 13 of 39, from the field and hit 6 of 10 at the line. Labette County cashed in 14 of 22 free throw attempts.
Brannon Green led the Grizzlies with 21 points. Collin New added 14 points.
In junior varsity play, Labette County won 47-36. Christian Kauth had 12 points for Iola.
Labette County won the freshman game 61-33. Iola’s Levi Ashmore scored 18 points.
Iola (13-7-3-15—38) (FG/3-pt): Browning 0-0-1-0, Cl. Heffern 0-0-1-0, Toland 3/1-2-4-11, Kauth 0/1-0-1-3, D. Walden 1-0-0-2, S. Walden 0/1-2-2-5, Apt 2-0-1-4, Middleton 1/3-1-4-12, Peterson 0-1-4-1. TOTALS: 7/6-6-18-38.
Labette County (8-8-14-18—48): New 5-4-2-14, Brown 2-0-2-4, Krewson 0-2-4-2, Smith 0-1-3-1, Green 7-7-2-21, Nash 3-0-0-6. TOTALS: 17-14-13-48.
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