They can’t all be masterpieces.
Iola High entered the Christmas break Friday with a 62-31 win over Prairie View, taking advantage of a squad playing without some of its leading performers because of COVID-19.
Even with the convincing victory, the contest left a bitter taste in head coach Luke Bycroft’s mouth.
“I’m trying not to be too down,” he said. “We’ve just gotta be better overall. I wanted to finish strong going into the break. If we’d have won by three and been sharp, I’d have been a lot more happy than winning by 33 and looking like we did tonight.”
“We were good and terrible,” he said. “We just didn’t come out with any intensity. I don’t know if it’s not having school today for Christmas break, or knowing they were shorthanded.”
Offensively and defensively, Iola did just enough in both halves to take control, although there were spells that Prairie View kept the Mustangs off balance with its physical inside play.
The contest was nip-and-tuck in a slow-paced first quarter, with Landon Carson drilling a 3-pointer at the 1:10 mark to give Iola an 8-6 lead.
Prairie View opened the second period with a 5-0 burst to take its biggest lead of the game, 11-8, but Iola responded with a 16-0 wallop to end the half.
Iola’s Patrick Weaver got the run started with a layup, followed by Bradyn Cole’s bucket to put Iola back in front. Landon Carson and Tyler Boeken then combined to score the next 11 points before Eli Smith drilled a 3-pointer late in the half to push Iola on top, 26-13. Dillon Bycroft’s baseline jumper capped the first half scoring.
Boeken then pushed the lead to 17 with the first bucket of the second half, 30-13, but Iola’s momentum stalled.
Accentuated with some gutsy inside play, and a staggering number of fouls called against the Mustangs, Prairie View stayed even for much of the third quarter, as the pace slowed to a screeching halt.
Iola’s lead stood at 41-19 before the Buffalos’ Gage Pugh converted a steal and layup to trigger a 9-2 Buffalo run to trim the deficit to 15. Otis Jacobs’ bucket early in the fourth quarter cut Iola’s lead at 43-28.
It was as close as Prairie View could get.
Cole — playing in his first action of the season after missing the first two weeks because of COVID-19 protocols — scored to make it 45-28. Carson hit a free throw and then a field goal before Dillon Bycroft swished two straight 3-point attempts, and suddenly, Iola’s lead was 54-28. Boeken’s basket at the 3:09 mark capped Iola’s second 16-0 run of the night, putting the lead at 59-28.
Carson led the way with 25 points and four assists, while Boeken had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Dillon Bycroft scored 10 points with seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Cole had eight points and two steals. Also racking up two steals each were Dillon Slaven, Jack Adams, Sam Fager and Cooper Riley.
The victory puts Iola at 3-1 as they take an extended layoff, a bit longer than usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve got the potential to win every game on our schedule the rest of the way,” Bycroft said. “It’s a matter of how focused we are. I’m excited about where we’re going, but this week and tonight were kind of a short step backward on things I wanted to get in before the break. We’re going to enjoy the win, but won’t accept it as good enough. We’ve gotta be better than this the rest of the way.
Zach Thies scored 10 to lead Prairie View. Among the missing players for the Buffalos was leading scorer Josh Robbins, who averages 19 points a game.
IOLA prevailed, 48-23, in the junior varsity contest, behind a balanced scoring attack. Eli Adams led the way with 11 points. Jake Skahan and Riley both scored eight, while Fager had seven, Cody Wille four, Kyler Mittelmeier three, Korbin Cloud, Travis Wanker and Ricky Barbarossa with two each and Gage Skahan with one.
The Mustang C team defeated the Buffalos, 34-21. Cloud scored 15, Gage Skahan nine, Isaac McCullough four and Ashton Hesse, Kolton Greathouse and Casey Rowe with two apiece.
The Mustangs return to action Jan. 8 at Osawatomie.
Prairie View (6-7-11-7—31).
Iola (8-20-15-19—62) (FG/3pt): Bycroft 2/2-0-1-10, Weaver 1-0-3-2, Adams 1-1-4-3, Fager 0-0-2-0, Louk 0-1-3-1, Cole 4-0-4-8, Riley 0-0-2-0, Carson 5/4-3-3-25, Boeken 5-0-2-10. TOTALS: 18/7-5-24-62.