Oskaloosa Survives Opening Game At ‘The Well’

Cole Henry drives to the hoop against Marion on Tuesday afternoon.

Cole Henry drives to the hoop against Marion on Tuesday afternoon.

by Jamie Brockman

It may not have been pretty, but as the ol’ cliché says, a win is a win and champions find ways to win even when things don’t go as expected. That’s exactly what Oskaloosa did Tuesday, coming from behind to beat Marion 51-49 in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A State Basketball Tournament. After trailing the entire first half and finding themselves down 32-22 at halftime, Oskaloosa came out much more energized in the second half, outscoring Marion 29-17 to move on to the semifinals for the second consecutive year. Marion made things difficult inside the paint for Osky through the first two quarters, forcing the Indians to shoot from the perimeter. Thankfully, Oskaloosa was able to connect on 6-13 long-range shots, seven foot Junior Xavier Foster was 3-6, and Rian Yates drained 3-5 which kept the Indians in the game. Marion also out-rebounded Osky 19-10 and outscored the Indians in the paint 14-4 in the first half.

Oskaloosa began the second half on an 8-0 run with two quick three-pointers from Austin Hafner and a basket by Cole Henry to close within two points just :90 seconds into the third quarter. Marion answered right back with a bucket and three-pointer to go back on top by seven, then Foster made his presence known defensively with his fourth and fifth blocked shots of the game, followed by an offensive rebound dunk from Foster, pulling Osky back within three and forcing a Marion timeout midway through the third quarter. After being limited to just two first-half points, Senior Cole Henry began finding his groove inside throughout the third quarter, and Senior Rian Yates nailed a three tying the game at 39. Marion hit the final basket of the quarter taking a 41-39 lead into the final quarter.

Oskaloosa tied the game several times throughout the fourth quarter, but Marion answered back every time maintaining a lead. With Marion leading by four, Junior Iszac Schultz took his only shot of the game draining a huge three-pointer, followed up by a three from Yates off a Marion turnover and Oskaloosa grabbed the lead with three minutes remaining. With Oskaloosa leading by two, Marion had a chance to tie or win late in the game. Following a timeout with :43 seconds remaining, Schultz and the Indians played intense defense keeping Marion away from the hoop and forcing a wild, desperation three at the buzzer that was no good and Oskaloosa survived for the 51-49 win. Osky out-rebounded Marion 17-9, shot 12-23 from the floor and 5-10 from long range in the second half.

Yates led Oskaloosa with 15 points, Henry had a huge second half and finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, Foster scored 13 points, pulled down nine rebounds and had seven blocked shots. Hafner added six points, and Schultz finished with three.

In post-game interviews, Coach Ryan Parker said “Our defense was so much better in the second half, and that’s really what won us the game, especially that last possession. I wasn’t pleased with our efforts on that end of the floor in the first half but credit our kids for picking up their intensity.”

Senior Rian Yates discussed the final seconds, “We were pretty sure what play they’d run out of that last timeout, and we were exactly right. Iszac and Tyler did a great job defending, not letting them in the paint and forced the tough shot.” He added, “Even though [we] were down ten at half we never panicked. I had confidence in our guys and coaches the whole way. We just needed to knock down some shots and keep pounding the post, but most of all needed to step up on defense, and we did that down the stretch.”

Fellow Senior Cole Henry credited Marion for a great game plan “Marion scouted us well. I was frustrated at halftime being held to just two points but I knew if they kept double-teaming I could kick to Rian, Austin, and Iszac, and they’d hit shots, and they did that which opened things up inside allowing me to get some baskets, and we went on to win.” Regarding the nail biter finish, Henry said “ I can’t promise that won’t happen again, but I’ll try my best to make sure things aren’t so nerve-racking, I don’t like that either. We were down eight at half in the first round last year and ten tonight at the half and had to battle back to win both, so sometimes I guess it happens.”

Oskaloosa, the number 3 seed in the tournament, improved to 17-5 with the win, advancing to the Class 3A Semifinals and will look to head back to the championship game for the second consecutive year when they face number 7 seed Winterset, who upset number 2 seed Sergeant Bluff-Luton Thursday at 3:45 pm at Wells Fargo Arena. You can hear Thursday’s game live on Oskaloosa News Live as well as 96.7 FM KIIC with Jamie Brockman calling the action joined by Doug DeKock and Brett Doud with pre-game starting at 3 pm.

Posted by on Mar 6 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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