Back To The ‘Well’ On Unfinished Business

2018-19 3A State Qualifier Oskaloosa Indians.

2018-19 3A State Qualifier Oskaloosa Indians.

by Jamie Brockman

Oskaloosa is headed back to the Class 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament for the second straight year following a commanding 58-37 win over Fairfield in the 3A SubState final at Mount Pleasant Monday night.

Despite being the top seed, Oskaloosa was forced to travel to Fairfield’s backyard in Mount Pleasant. The travel didn’t slow the Indians one bit. Dating back to last season, everywhere Osky goes they play in front of full, loud gymnasiums, so the full to capacity gym fit right into Oskaloosa’s style.

Fairfield scored first to take a 2-0 lead, but that would be their only lead as Osky built a 10-6 lead after the first quarter. The second quarter was the difference maker, as Osky caught fire, getting Fairfield in foul trouble, outscoring the Trojans 23-9 to enjoy a 33-15 halftime lead. The second half was fairly even, but the hole dug in that second quarter was too much to overcome for Fairfield.

Senior Austin Hafner lets a '3' fly against Fairfield on Monday night.

Senior Austin Hafner lets a ‘3’ fly against Fairfield on Monday night.

Our post game on Osky News Live and 96.7 FM KIIC featured interviews with parents, coaches, former players, current players, and even student fans. Scott Van Veldhuizen, the father of Noah Van Veldhuizen, coached these kids when they were younger and said he’s beyond excited and proud of the kids. “I feel sweet joy and emotion. I’m so happy for these kids. If you know all the hard work they’ve put in, I’m just so happy for the kids, the fans and our community. It’s so good to be an Oskaloosa Indian right now”.

William Penn Men’s basketball coach John Henry, also the father of Senior Cole Henry, was fighting off tears as he spoke with our crew. “I’m all caught up in my emotions. It’s been an amazing three years of football and basketball; it’s just been a dream come true. Moving to Oskaloosa is the best thing our family ever did. This community has been so supportive these past three years, and I’m so proud to be an Indian… let’s bring that all to Des Moines next Tuesday.”

Brandon Schultz, father of Iszac and William Schultz said, “It’s a lot more fun for our family now that Isaac plays more minutes and is a bigger part of the successes. As parents, we get nervous, but once we tipped off tonight, we all had a feeling we were gonna take care of business, and the team did the rest.”

Senior scoring leader Cole Henry said this has been their goal since losing the championship last season. He said he’s so proud of how his teammates stepped up and bonded together during his absence due to injury, ultimately became a better team. He also thanked everyone for their support after his injury and said they are headed to Des Moines on a mission.

Junior seven foot Xavier Foster elevates for the dunk against Fairfield on Monday night.

Junior seven foot Xavier Foster elevates for the dunk against Fairfield on Monday night.

Seven-foot Junior Xavier Foster echoed those thoughts, saying “This is our chance to finish what we started last year. We have unfinished business we need to finish next week.”

Assistant Coach Randy Howard added “We expected a physical battle and it was, but I’m just glad our guys didn’t back down and didn’t just win but won convincingly by 21. We can’t wait to get back to the ‘Well’ and show what we can do. We’re playing really good right now winning seven straight heading to state.”

Assistant Coach Nick Eversmeyer said, ”Going back to back years is special. It’s important we focus on the first round game Tuesday. We’re getting better and better every game, especially defensively, and if we just keep that up, we’ll be tough to beat.”

We also spoke with former Oskaloosa player Jared Kruse, who graduated last year and now plays for Coe College. Kruse stated, “The way they’re shooting the ball right now I don’t see anyone beating them. Looking back at high school, state basketball is the thing I remember more than anything so, enjoy it, and win some games.”

The 6th man is often the student section, and Cade Snakenberg helps lead up that group of fans. Snakenberg spoke about the preparation that goes into their efforts. “We knew this would be a physical, upbeat game. There have been some Twitter wars leading up to this game between the students at Fairfield and us, but our fans showed up in support, and our guys came to play.” Snakenberg said the student section has a lot to do in the next week preparing chants, learning which opposing players to heckle, and preparing clothing to wear, tailgates, etc. as we head back to state.

The Indians celebrate after handing Fairfield the 58-37 loss in the Sub-State Finals on Monday night.

The Indians celebrate after handing Fairfield the 58-37 loss in the Sub-State Finals on Monday night.

Finally, Head Coach Ryan Parker said, “It’s so hard to go to state back to back years at this level. It says a lot about our community, school, kids, fans and our basketball program. We had a target on our backs all season, and the kids came to play every night and got better and better. Tonight we matched their physicality which we’ve stressed the last two practices. They play very physical and when their press didn’t bother us, and we answered their physicalness, they started falling apart and losing focus, and we took advantage and put em away.”

Henry led Oskaloosa with 19 points, Austin Hafner added 13, Foster scored 12 and again was dominant defensively, Rian Yates added 11, and Van Veldhuizen scored three points.

Osky heads back to state with a 16-5 record, winners of seven in a row, and will play at Wells Fargo Arena on Tuesday, March 5th.

You can follow the Indians through the state tournament with live coverage of each game with Jamie Brockman and Doug DeKock calling the action courtside, plus Brett Doud providing pre-game and post-game commentary and interviews on Osky News Live as well as on Thunder Country 96.7 FM KIIC.

The exact time and opponent hasn’t been announced as of press time, while the IHSAA waits for all substate games to be completed this week.

Listen to a replay of the game by clicking the link HERE

Order your Boys Basketball State Tournament Gear HERE from Swim’s Sports

Posted by on Feb 26 2019. Filed under Local News, School Activities. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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