LOUISBURG — Some hot shooting propelled Iola High’s Mustangs out of the gate in a big way Monday.
Junior Joey Zimmerman connected three times from 3-point range in the early going as the Mustangs traded baskets with Burlington, Iola’s opening-round opponent in the Bulldog-Wildcat Classic.
But the Wildcats scored eight unanswered points at the end of the first quarter to take the lead for good. A 20-9 run spanning the second quarter pushed Burlington’s lead to double digits for good in its 58-36 victory.
The loss drops Iola to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in tournament action. The Mustangs don’t have long to mope. They return to action to take on host Louisburg tonight at about 6:30.
“We played better overall, but we still have a long way to go,” Iola head coach Jay Applegate said. “We lost our legs in the second half.”
Burlington also held a commanding rebounding advantage, Applegate said, which was particularly troublesome with Iola hitting at only 31 percent (14 of 45) from the field.
The Mustangs stayed within shouting distance, 46-34, by the end of the third quarter before Burlington slammed the door with a 10-2 run down the stretch.
“Our rebounding was horrible,” Applegate said. “We need to want the rebound more than the other team. Right now, we are pretty puny in that department.”
Zimmerman’s early outburst gave him a team-high 12 points. Ben Cooper, Isaiah Fawson and Chase Regehr added six points each. Ethan Holloway, Evan Sigg and Mason Ingle each scored two.
Owen Redding scored 20 points to lead the Wildcats.
IN GIRLS ACTION, the Fillies figured they’d have a tough opponent Monday as well.
Burlington, after all, had won its season-opener, 61-6, over Osawatomie three days earlier.
Iola equalled Osawatomie’s offensive production by the midway point of the first quarter, when Toni Macha’s basket gave the Fillies a 6-4 advantage.
Riley Murry scored a little later in the quarter, and Ashlie Shields hit a free throw, keeping Iola within arm’s length, 11-9, by the end of the period.
But an extended dry spell spanning the second and third quarters spelled doom.
The Wildcats took full control with a 19-0 run on its way to a 47-16 victory.
By the time the Fillies dented the scoreboard again, in the opening minutes of fourth quarter, Burlington had pushed its lead to 30-11.
Junior guard Sydney Wade left the game in the third quarter after colliding with a Burlington player.
In first-half scoring (full game statistics were unavailable at press time) Murry led the way with four points for Iola. Shields had three and Macha two.
The Fillies don’t have to wait long to wash the bitter taste from their mouths. They return to Louisburg this afternoon at 5 o’clock to take on the host Wildcats.
Iola girls 9-0-0-7—16
Burlington girls 13-5-10-19—47