COLUMBUS — Iola High’s Mustangs went on a 28-point tear in the third quarter Friday night for a 22-point lead over host Columbus High’s Titans. The Mustangs were cruising but the Titans put a wake in the way.
Columbus with only one win in 10 Southeast Kansas League games made Mustang faithful think “here we go again.” Playing their third game in a week, the Mustangs had lost late leads in two games and came up short at the end.
The Titans whittled the lead down to three, 66-63, with just under five minutes remaining in the game.
Iola righted the ship from the free-throw line. The Mustangs hit 10 of 16 from the line to seal a 76-66 win.
“We had played well and hit some big shots in the third quarter to get the big lead,” said Steve Taylor, Mustang head coach.
“Then we panicked and threw the ball away. We stopped doing the things that got us the big lead.”
Columbus came back by making plays.
“Then we settled down and went to the free throw line late. We stepped up and hit some big throws.”
The Mustangs went 10 of 13 from beyond the three-point arc in the game. They hit 4 of 6 threes in the third quarter as they expanded their 35-29 halftime margin.
Seth Walden fired in five of those threes on his way to 19 points. Kent Toland was 11 of 15 from the charity stripe as he tallied 19 points.
Iola had four players reach double-digit scoring. Charles Apt dropped in 12 points and Michael Middleton, who had three threes, scored 10.
Apt and Alec Peterson got the job done inside early for Iola. A putback by Peterson made it 6-6 then Middleton nailed a three-pointer with about 3:21 left in the first quarter.
Iola never trailed after that. Seth Walden hit his first trey coupled with a Toland basket to put the Mustangs up 14-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Drew Walden started the second quarter on a three. When Toland sank two foul shots at the 5:34 mark, Iola’s lead was 23-13.
The Titans made a charge at the Mustangs, closing to 25-21.
Christian Kauth came off the Iola bench to drain a three. Apt hit a free throw and Middleton’s trey pushed it back to a 10-point margin.
Columbus rattled off seven straight led by Matt Crain, who came off the bench to pour in 20 points.
Seth Walden connected from long range just before halftime, lifting Iola to a 35-29 advantage.
“That was a big shot by Seth. It doused some of their fire and gave us a boost going into halftime,” Taylor said.
Seth Walden and Middleton had threes to spark the big run in the third quarter by Iola. Toland and Peterson had back-to-back baskets to make it 60-39.
Seth Walden’s fifth three of the game handed Iola a 63-41 lead. Then Columbus began its comeback as the third quarter closed.
The Titans outscored the Mustangs 22-3 led by Crain and Taylor Spear. The Mustangs were treading water when the score got to 66-63.
Toland was fouled with 4:25 left. Iola was in the double-bonus at the line and Toland cashed in both tosses.
Seven seconds later, Toland was back at the line and Crain was sitting down with his fifth foul. Toland, Peterson, Apt and Seth Walden each downed free throws in the final four minutes of play.
Spear fouled out with 15 points with under three minutes to play.
“It was a big win for our kids, especially losing the last couple of the games like we did,” Taylor said.
“We still need to be better at the free-throw line. We were 24 of 47 tonight. We have to step up and drain those shots.”
The Mustang junior varsity won 53-30 led by Clint Heffern and Jerrik Sigg with 10 points each.
There was no freshman game.
Iola is at home Tuesday against Chanute and Friday against Parsons for homecoming. The Mustangs are 3-8 in SEK play and 5-10 overall.
Iola (14-21-28-13—76) (FG/3-pt): Ch. Heffern 1-0-1-2, Toland 4-11-3-19, Kauth 0/1-0-1-3, D. Walden 0/1-0-1-3, S. Walden 1/5-2-3-19, Apt 3-6-4-12, Middleton 0/3-1-4-10, Peterson 2-4-3-8. TOTALS: 11/10-24-20-76.
Columbus (10-19-16-21—66) (FG/3-pt): Crain 7-6-5-20, Tedlock 1/1-0-2-5, Stanley 0/1-2-1-5, Tillman 2/1-0-5-7, Spear 4/1-4-5-15, Holeman 1-2-4-4-, Kellogg 3-1-4-7, Grant 1-0-4-2. TOTALS: 19/4-16-30-66.
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