Indians Suffer Tough Loss In Title Game

The Oskaloosa Indians came up 4 points short against Glenwood for the state title.

The Oskaloosa Indians came up 4 points short against Glenwood for the state title.

Des Moines, Iowa – The Oskaloosa Indians fought their way to the title game of the Iowa Class 3A basketball game on Friday night. They were set to take on Glenwood, a team not so dissimilar to many of the teams the Indians faced all season long.

The game was an epic battle between two teams who had never been this far in their school history.

Oskaloosa ended the first quarter of play, leading Glenwood, 24-17, but the Rams of Glenwood clawed their way back outscoring the Indians 21-14 in the second quarter to tie the ballgame at 38.

The third quarter was a back and forth battle, with both teams scoring 13 points, with the final quarter to decide who would be the 2018 state champion.

The fourth quarter was much of the same back and forth battle, but with 3 minutes remaining, you could sense the game was slipping away from Oskaloosa.

The Rams took the lead for good, and defeated the Indians 66-62, for their first-ever state title.

Oskaloosa senior Tanner DeKock hugs his dad, Doug DeKock, after the game Friday.

Oskaloosa senior Tanner DeKock hugs his dad, Doug DeKock, after the game Friday.

A devastated Indians team thanked their fans for all the support they have shown during the year.

The game featured 13 lead changes, and 11 times the score was tied, which lead many sports editors to say the game was potentially the best basketball game played at the tournament in years.

Glenwood got hot at the end, but Oskaloosa Head Coach Ryan Parker said they felt as though the Indians still had a chance at the end.

“We built this program, I say we because it’s everybody in there [locker room],” said Parker. “We took over four years ago; we had won one game. Now we lost in the state championship game by four. There’s a range of emotions there. A range of emotions that comes from getting your tail kicked every night when you’re a freshman, and all of a sudden you go to a state championship game and come up just a little bit short. That’s nothing to really hang your heads about, and that’s hard to say to your kids, but really they have a lot to be proud of.”

Oskaloosa's Jared Kruse drives againt Glenwood's Andrew Blum during the title game on Friday.

Oskaloosa’s Jared Kruse drives againt Glenwood’s Andrew Blum during the title game on Friday.

Senior Jared Kruse played his last game as an Oskaloosa Indian, and he spoke about the journey he’s experienced as an Indian, going from a six-win season as a freshman to the title game his senior year. “It’s a great achievement.”

“I left it all out on the court,” said a battered Kruse, who had suffered a split chin during the previous day’s game. “I think all my teammates can say that too. We can look in the mirror at the end of the day and can say that I think everything is going to be alright.”

Kruse will be playing basketball next year for a different team, but that future time on the court didn’t take the sting away from the loss. Kruse and many of his teammates have grown up together, “To have to leave that, it’s hard.”

Sophomore Xavier Foster described the ups and downs as the game progressed. “We’d feel comfortable; then they’d fight their way back. They’d get a run, and then we just beat back and forth the whole game.”

“One minute you’re feeling hot, like I can’t miss,” said Foster. That would then be tempered by those moments when he said he’d work to prevent his opponent from scoring.

Foster was selected to the All-Tournament team, but Foster says “It doesn’t mean anything. It didn’t help my team at all. I’m not here for me, I’m here for my team and trying to win state.”

Jared Kruse was also selected to the All-Tournament Team for 2018 in Class 3A.

The pain of the moment hits Oskaloosa's Cole Henry and Rian Yates after the loss to Glenwood.

The pain of the moment hits Oskaloosa’s Cole Henry and Rian Yates after the loss to Glenwood.

Oskaloosa junior Cole Henry spoke about some of the things that could have gone better, including free throws. “I know if we made them all, we would have won the game.”

Henry also spoke about rebounding, in particular one point in the action where Glenwood got seven shot attempts. “It’s just unacceptable. We need to box out and get those rebounds.”

As that final buzzer sounded, Henry described it as disbelief. “It just came up so fast. One point I thought we had four quarters left, then we had four seconds left and the game’s over right then. Then all the seniors are gone, and it really does suck.”

“Life goes on, and we’ll learn from this experience, and we’ll be better next time,” added Henry.

Oskaloosa was lead by Jared Kruse, who ended the night with 21 points. Cole Henry had 16 points while Xavier Foster added 11. Off the bench, Rian Yates added 8 points.

The Indians shooting cooled off in the second quarter, dropping to 42% compared to the first half average of 68%.

On the boards, Foster had nine rebounds while Henry and Kruse each had five.

Foster had five big shot blocks on the night, while Henry and senior Spencer Tucker each dished it out four times.

For Glenwood, they were lead in scoring by Andrew Blum with 20 points. Blum also lead the Rams in rebounds with 10.

The Rams also cooled off in the second half, dropping to 33% from the field, down from a 46% average the first half.

The Indians ended the season with a 23-4 record and shared the conference title with Norwalk. Norwalk was also defeated by Glenwood in state tournament action.

Tournament coverage made possible with support from:

Wyndell Campbell State Farm, Clow Valve Company, Penn Central Mall, Gardner Collier Jewelry, MidWestOne Bank, Legacy Real Estate, Mahaska Communication Group, Langkamp Funeral Chapel & Crematory, Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy, and Mahaska Health Partnership.

MidWestOne Insurance Services, Interiors by Val, Boyle & Henderson, Stam Greenhouse, EyeCare Partners, Mahaska Drug, and United Way.

 

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Posted by on Mar 11 2018. 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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