Clutch Free Throws Lead Indians Over Eagles

Oskaloosa Senior Rian Yates nailed 5 3-pointers, finishing with 23 points against Pella Christian on Thursday night. (photo by Tasha Janssen)

Oskaloosa Senior Rian Yates nailed 5 3-pointers, finishing with 23 points against Pella Christian on Thursday night. (photo by Tasha Janssen)

by Jamie Brockman

A capacity filled Pella Christian High School gymnasium was treated to a great back and forth battle on Thursday night that went down to the final seconds before Oskaloosa pulled off a 50-49 win over Pella Christian.

Oskaloosa was able to overcome a very slow start, that saw the Indians leading 7-6 after the first quarter.

Things got worse in the second quarter, and it wasn’t real pretty play from either team, as Pella Christian gained a 22-14 halftime lead. Oskaloosa Coach Ryan Parker said “Our first-half effort wasn’t at all where it needed to be. We were just going through the motions on both ends of the floor, so we challenged them at halftime and they were much more aggressive in the second half”.

The challenge worked, as Oskaloosa scored more points in the third quarter than the entire first half, outscoring the Eagles 20-12 to gain a 34-34 tie heading into the fourth quarter. Both teams swapped leads in the fourth quarter, and neither could separate much from the other.

The final 30 seconds featured a lot of action. With Osky leading 48-47, Pella Christian got a steal leading to a dunk by Jayden Huisman putting the Eagles in front 49-48. With the home fans going crazy, it seemed like that might decide the game.

Jack Vermeer fouled Oskaloosa’s Rian Yates with just 2.8 seconds remaining sending him to the free throw line to shoot the one and one. Yates, an 85 percent free throw shooter, wasn’t phased as he drained both putting Osky back in front.

Following a Pella Christian timeout with 1.2 seconds remaining, the Eagles attempted a game-winning shot but couldn’t connect, and Osky pulled out the 50-49 win.

Senior leader Rian Yates was a difference maker all game long finishing with a season-high 23 points. Yates drained five three-pointers, and hit the two crucial free throws late and played great defense with intensity all night. Xavier Foster added 15 points, Austin Hafner six, Tyler Miller four, and Isaac Schultz added two. Coach Parker also said “Yates was huge. His effort was exactly what we need and him stepping up and hitting those free throws was huge” He went on to say “ We could’ve thrown in the towel after Cole’s injury and our loss to Pella, but it’s a testament to our coaching staff and players that we haven’t. We put together four decent quarters at D C-G Saturday and tonight against a very good Pella Christian team, who I think will be a state qualifying team in Class 2A”

Following the game, Rian Yates said, “The first half we all really struggled offensively, but our defense kept us in the game. Second half, Xa (Xavier Foster) really started dominating in the post, and it opened up things for the rest of us. As far as the free throws to win the game go… it’s what a kid dreams of since you’re little so I just stepped up and stayed calm with confidence and knocked them down”.

Oskaloosa faces another very tough test Saturday when they host LHC leaders Norwalk, who beat Osky earlier in the season. The Indians will have to find a way to slow down Warriors superstar Bowen Born, but Parker says he feels the guys are up for the challenge. Tip-off is slated for 4:30 pm on Saturday.

Oskaloosa improved to 11-5 overall and 7-3 in LHC play while PC ends their regular season 12-8 and 5-8 in LHC play and now preps for their Class 2A postseason run beginning next week.

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Posted by on Feb 8 2019. Filed under 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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