The Iola Mustangs entered Tuesday’s contest hungry for their third win on the season and they emerged with just that, thanks to a 49-48 victory over Santa Fe Trail. Standout sophomore Ethan Holloway said after the game the win was a big relief to his team.
“There was a lot of relief,” Holloway said. “It just felt good to get that win. It has been awhile.”
The Mustangs leaned heavily on their post players throughout the game, but it was reserve big-man Evan Sigg who they turned to when they needed to take control of the game in fourth quarter.
“Our guards did a good job of getting our posts the ball,” Iola coach Jay Applegate said.
Sigg knocked in a basket to give the home team a 43-42 lead with four and a half minutes remaining.
“I’m excited for him,” Holloway said of his fellow sophomore’s big game. “I’m excited for us and I’m excited for our future together.”
After the Chargers answered with a pair of free throws, the Mustangs once again looked for the sophomore Sigg and he delivered to put them back in front.
“He had 12 points tonight and some key rebounds,” Applegate said. “He’s a sophomore and Ethan’s a sophomore and they’ve really been working on catching the ball at the post and turning and facing and doing some things. They really did a good job tonight.”
Junior Ben Cooper was able to drive down the lane and hit a floater over the Charger defense to get the lead to 3 with 2:40 remaining before another Sigg bucket stretched it to 49-44.
Santa Fe Trail rallied with a basket from Josh Long to get the lead back to one possession at 49-46.
After an empty possession for the Mustangs, Charger junior Jaden Bone scored inside to cut the margin to a single point.
With 26 seconds left, Santa Fe Trail was forced to foul Isaiah Fawson and put the junior at the line for a one-and-one opportunity. The Mustang guard missed the foul shot and the Chargers took possession just down 1.
After witnessing a last-second defeat to the Chargers in the girls game earlier in the evening, the Mustang crowd fell quiet as the Chargers called a timeout to discuss their next possession.
Iola used the ball pressure defense to nearly force a steal on the ensuing Santa Fe Trail play, but the Chargers were able to gather the ball and call another timeout, this one with 10 seconds left.
Coming out of the timeout, the Charger shot missed the basket and Holloway came away with the rebound and was fouled with 4 seconds remaining.
“He had 14 points and seven rebounds,” Applegate said of Holloway. “He had some big rebounds late.”
The sophomore missed both free throws, but the desperation heave from the Chargers missed and Iola was able to celebrate for the third time this season.
“There is a lot of perseverance with us,” Holloway said. “We stick in games and we don’t ever quit.”
The Mustangs are back in action on Friday when they play host to Central Heights for the Winter Homecoming game.
THE MUSTANG JV team defeated the Chargers of Santa Fe Trail 34-28 on Tuesday.
Iola led throughout the game thanks to their balanced offense with four players scoring six points each.
Braden Plumlee, Gage Cleaver, Evan Sigg and Mason Ingle all had six points for the Mustangs. Zachary Cokely also chipped in five points for the home squad.
The game’s leading scorer was Santa Fe Trail junior Jaden Bone with nine points. No other Chargers were able to score more than four points against the Mustang defense.
THE IOLA freshman squad used balanced scoring to overcome a strong individual Charger performance.
In Iola’s 46-29 drubbing of Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe Trail guard John Long scored over half of his team’s points with 15.
Iola countered by spreading out their scoring load. Dylan Doolittle led the Mustangs with 10 points and Tayton Driskel added nine of his own.
Kane Rogers scored seven points with Derek Bycroft knocking in six.
Cole Regehr and Blake Ashmore rounded out the Mustangs with 5 points apiece.