Indians Headed Towards Holiday Break Looking For Wins

Oskaloosa Indians in action against Centerville. (photo by Tasha Janssen)

by Jamie Brockman

After winning their first-ever State Championship in basketball a season ago, this year’s Indians are a work in progress and are off to a 2-2 start, and 0-2 in Little Hawkeye Conference play. The Indians have suffered early-season losses to Grinnell and DC-G while earning non-conference wins over Fairfield and Centerville.

With Cole Henry, Rian Yates and Austin Hafner all graduating, and another starter, Tyler Miller not going out for basketball, the Indians have a lot of new faces playing different roles this season. Coaches and players knew it would take some time to find their new identity, even with the return of seven-foot, ISU commit, Xavier Foster.

The Indians opened the season at Fairfield, a team they beat by two points to open last season, then beat soundly in Substate to earn a return trip to Wells Fargo Arena. The Trojans are also a completely different team from last season, graduating all five starters. There were some bumps, but it was a successful start as Oskaloosa got a 67-45 win. Foster didn’t disappoint, scoring 28 points, including five three-pointers, 12 rebounds, and five blocked shots. Noah Van Veldhuizen drained three three-pointers to add 11 points, while new face, Keaton Flaherty, who transferred from Pella Christian to join his cousins Will and Iszac Schultz, scored nine points in his Indians debut.

Three days later, the Indians made their first appearance in front of the home fans, which was also their LHC opener against Grinnell on Friday night. Oskaloosa learned some tough news the previous day when Head Coach Ryan Parker was forced to take a leave of absence from the team to deal with medical issues, putting Assistant Coach DaJuan Foster at the helm. We knew the Tigers were much improved from a year ago. They hung with the Indians throughout the first half with Oskaloosa, only holding a 31-30 lead at halftime. Grinnell outscored Oskaloosa 16-11 in the third quarter to gain a 46-41 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter was anything but pretty, as both teams combined for just 12 total points scored. Oskaloosa was dealt a big blow with 5:30 remaining when Foster fouled out of the game with Oskaloosa trailing 46-45. Foster’s absence was felt offensively as the Indians were never able to establish a flow and looked uncomfortable and hesitant, but seven Grinnell turnovers kept the Indians in reach. Both teams had chances to win in regulation, but a 50-50 score at the final buzzer forced a five minute overtime period to decide the victor. Both teams continued to struggle in the overtime period, but the Tigers outscored Osky 6-2 to earn a 56-52 overtime win handing Oskaloosa their first loss. Before fouling out, Foster scored 17 points while pulling down 13 rebounds and tallied three blocked shots. Noah Van Veldhuizen also scored 17, while Iszac Schultz added nine for the Indians.

The Indians were back in action the following Tuesday, hosting Centerville in non-conference play. This was a game where Oskaloosa was favored, and the Indians took care of business and were clicking on all cylinders cruising to an 83-36 win. The Indians took control very early, building a 26-11 lead after the first quarter and extended that to a 43-22 halftime advantage. The offensive surge continued pouring in 20 points in both the third and fourth quarters, while they were just as impressive defensively limiting the Big Red to 14 total second-half points. It was a three-point barrage for the Indians as eight different players connected from long range draining 17 total three-pointers. Xavier Foster and Keaton Flaherty led the scoring with 17 points each, Noah Van Veldhuizen added 13. Still, some of the most memorable moments came when our bench players got extended minutes down the stretch and contributed. Waylon Bolibaugh, and David Nelson each hit two three-pointers to finish with six points, Darryl Fane also hit two three-pointers and had eight points, and Dalton Deney scored five points. Other contributors included Will Schultz with four points to go along with four assists, Iszac Schultz scored three points and dished out five assists, and Colton Butler scored four points but pulled down 11 rebounds.

Friday, it was back to LHC play, and the Indians were facing a strong DC-G team, still playing without their Coach Ryan Parker. Sickness has been heavy around Oskaloosa High School. Once again, the Indians were dealt a big blow the day before the game when Xavier Foster was diagnosed with mono, which could hold the seven-footer out for four to six weeks potentially. With little time to adjust, Oskaloosa was more competitive offensively than when playing without Foster in the Grinnell game but defensively had no answer for DC-G sophomore Luke Rankin, who poured in 28 points and Junior Cole Glasgow who added 15. The Mustangs were running and gunning all game long with most of their points coming in transition resulting in layups. DC-G led 22-18 after one quarter, and a fairly competitive second quarter fell apart late for Oskaloosa as the Mustangs took a 44-32 lead into halftime. The halftime break didn’t slow the Mustangs as they outscored Oskaloosa 20-9 in the third quarter and cruised to a 78-60 win. Keaton Flaherty led the Indians with 17 points, including four three-pointers, while Will Schultz and Colton Butler each added ten, respectively. Iszac Schultz scored nine, Noah Van Veldhuizen eight, and David Nelson added six as the Indians dropped to 2-2 on the season and 0-2 in LHC play.

Coach Ryan Parler is expected to return to the team on Monday, but the Indians will be forced to play without the services of Foster for the next few weeks, most likely. Oskaloosa hosts Washington Tuesday, then travels to Newton Friday night looking for that first LHC win, before ending the pre-holiday portion of the season hosting Eddyville Blakesburg Fremont on Saturday night.

Posted by on Dec 16 2019. Filed under 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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