Iola High’s Mustangs had the better offensive output in Thursday night’s first quarter of play. Then not many shots fell after that.
Pittsburg High’s Purple Dragons turned a 7-2 deficit around by the halftime. They led 21-16 then outscored the Mustangs 24-9 in the second half for a 45-25 win.
“Our effort tonight was good. Defensively, we got after it,” said Steve Taylor, Mustang head coach following the regular-season finale.
“Offensively after the first quarter, we stood around a lot and became stagnant.”
It was senior night for the Mustangs. Five seniors — Chris Heffern, Seth Browning, Seth Walden, Michael Middleton and Alec Peterson — were the games’ starters. Iola’s other senior, Kent Toland, elected to go to state choir, Taylor said.
The Mustangs need to find their offensive mojo quickly. Iola (5-15) travels to Independence (10-10) Monday for a first-round game in the Kansas Class 4A substate tournament.
“It’s a good draw for us. We’ve played well against Independence this season and almost beat them the last time we played,” Taylor said.
“If we played with good intensity, we have a chance to advance in the substate.”
Tipoff Monday is at 7:30 p.m.
Iola got out to a 5-0 lead. Peterson hit a free throw at the 4:54 mark for the first point of the game. Chris Heffern had a basket then Peterson scored.
Blake Wilson got the Purple Dragons on the board with a field goal at the 1:43 mark. Walden responded for the Mustangs to make
Clay Southern had a chance at a three-point play but missed the free throw. Jordan Elliott hit one of two free throws for Pittsburg and the first quarter ended at 7-5.
Wilson, who was the only player to reach double figures in scoring for the game, had a three-point play for the Dragons. That gave Pittsburg its first lead, 8-7 with 7:12 on the clock.
Christian Kauth and Middleton had back-to-back baskets to lift Iola to the front again, 11-8. Iola’s final lead of the game was 14-12 when Walden nailed a trey at the 3:47 mark.
Wilson scored the next four points as the Dragons used a 9-2 run to finish out the half. They owned a 21-16 advantage.
It grew to 28-16 before Iola finally got the lid off the basket. Middleton scored all seven points — two threes and a free throw — for the Mustangs in the third quarter.
Iola was not completely out of the game, down by 10, 33-23, heading into the final period. But the Mustangs didn’t score again until Clint Heffern sank two free throws with 1:34 remaining in the game.
The loss dropped the Mustangs to 3-13 in the Southeast Kansas League in 2010.
Iola shot 27 percent, 9 of 33, from the field and hit 4 of 13 free throw attempts. Pittsburg hit 9 of 12 foul shots.
Middleton had nine points for Iola. Walden had five points and five rebounds.
Pittsburg won the junior varsity game 58-34. Jerrik Sigg had 12 points for Iola.
Pittsburg won the freshman game 62-44. Levi Ashmore fired in 15 for Iola.
Iola (7-9-7-2—25) (FG/3-pt): Cl. Heffern 0-2-1-2, Ch. Heffern 1-0-1-2, Sigg 1-0-1-2, Kauth 1-0-0-2, Taylor 0-0-1-0, Walden 1/1-0-2-5, Middleton 1/2-1-3-9, Peterson 1-1-3-3. TOTALS: 6/3-4-12-25.
Pittsburg (5-16-12-12—45) (FG/3-pt): Reed 0-0-3-0, Wilson 4/4-1-0-21, Elliott 1-4-3-6, Mendez 3-0-3-6, Southern 3-0-1-6, Schoonover 0-0-2-0, Phalen 0-0-1-0, Younge 1-4-1-6. TOTALS: 12/4-9-14-45.
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