Pony girls win tourney title



December 5, 2011 - 12:00 AM

BURLINGTON — Winning back-to-back close contests, Iola Middle School’s seventh-grade A-Team captured it’s division title at Saturday’s Burlington Middle School Invitational basketball tournament. This year’s team became the first IMS seventh-grade girls’ team to win the Iola and Burlington tournaments.
“A very good weekend for the girls. They just played harder than their opponents,” said Marty Taylor, IMS head basketball coach. “We did a good job of not letting some offensive troubles effect our defense. I’m very proud of our work on defense.”
Iola Middle School’s eighth-grade A-team lost both of its games, finishing fourth in its division.
In the seventh-grade division, Iola opened against host Burlington pushing out to a 16-8 halftime lead. It maintained its advantage to take a 23-16 lead into the final period. Burlington made a run — 7-3 — but came up short against the Ponies.
Lexi Heslop paced the Ponies with 10 points followed by Toni Macha with six points and seven rebounds. Sydney Wade added six points. Riley Murry pulled down four rebounds and scored two points. Taylor Stout had two points.
The win put Iola in the championship game against Chanute’s Royster Middle School’s Rockets. By the end of the first quarter, Iola had a 6-4 lead, then outscored Royster 7-3 in the second period, taking a 13-7 advantage into the break.
Royster held a 3-2 scoring margin in the third quarter. Each team scored five points in the final period as the Ponies claimed the championship with a 20-15 victory.
“I thought Riley, Lexi and Taylor really stepped it up (Saturday),” Taylor said.
Murry controlled 12 rebounds in the title game and tossed in four points. Macha had seven points and four rebounds. Wade scored five points and Heslop had four points.
The IMS seventh-grade A-team improved to 11-2.
One scoreless quarter — the second — proved to be costly for the Iola eighth-grade A-team in Saturday’s opener. The Ponies kept pace with Burlington’s Bobcats in the first quarter, 6-6, but the Bobcats continued to score five points in the second quarter while holding Iola scoreless.
Iola matched Burlington point-for-point in the third period, 4-4. Burlington held off the Ponies at the end with a 6-4 run in the fourth quarter for the 21-17 win.
Mikaela Platt led Iola with six points and seven rebounds and Taylor Sell pulled down six rebounds. Taylor Heslop had four points and four rebounds, MaKayli Cleaver had five rebounds and two points. Ashlie Shields scored two points.
In the consolation game for third place, Eureka staked out an 18-4 lead over Iola in the first quarter. The Ponies couldn’t dig themselves out and lost 43-21.
“We put ourselves in another position to win against Burlington but we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Taylor said. “Our start against Eureka had us climbing out of a huge hole from the beginning. MaKayli Clever came out and got after it in both games.”
Against Eureka, Sell and Platt each had seven points. Cassie Delich, Taelyn Sutterby and Micaiah Larney had two points apiece and Olivia Bannister had one point. The eighth-grade A-team is 1-10.
The IMS teams host Chanute’s Royster Middle School teams Tuesday starting at 3:30 p.m.

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