Oskaloosa To Title Game – Where They Will Find A Familiar Foe

The Oskaloosa Indians celebrate after defeating Winterset to head back to the 3A championship game.

The Oskaloosa Indians celebrate after defeating Winterset to head back to the 3A championship game.

by Jamie Brockman

Once again it wasn’t exactly pretty, but Oskaloosa survived another nail-biting, physical dog fight in the Class 3A semifinals, outlasting Winterset 48-43 to advance to their second consecutive Class 3A State Championship game.

Senior Austin Hafner got Osky off to a quick start draining two three-pointers as the Indians jumped out to an early 10-4 lead. Winterset fought right back to stay in the game as Osky held a 17-13 lead after one quarter. The Huskies outscored Oskaloosa 15-11 in the second quarter, and the teams headed to the locker rooms all tied up 28-28 at halftime.

Throughout the first half, Winterset frustrated the Indians with their physical play. Both of the Oskaloosa big guns, Xavier Foster and Cole Henry, had two personal fouls each and Foster even picked up a frustration technical in the first half. Another concern was Oskaloosa committed ten first-half turnovers. Oskaloosa connected on 12-25 shots in the first half and following the hot start from long range went 3-11 from the three-point line, while pulling down six offensive rebounds and out-rebounded Winterset 18-12.

The third quarter went back and forth and the game headed to the fourth quarter with the score knotted up at 39-39. The fourth quarter wasn’t the prettiest, but the Indians outscored the Huskies 9-4 to get the five point win. Seniors Austin Hafner and Rian Yates each knocked down two free throws late in the game to secure the win.

Oskaloosa ended up shooting 44% from the floor connecting on 19-43 shots, including 5-17 from long range and were 5-8 from the free throw line, while Winterset went cold from the floor in the second half, thanks in part to the presence of Foster defensively, which took away their inside game and their outside shots weren’t dropping. The Huskies were just 5-26 shooting in that second half including 1-10 from the three-point line, and for the game shot only 29% overall on 15-51 from the floor and 3-17 from long range. Oskaloosa held a significant rebounding edge 39-23. Something the Indians will need to fix quickly is the fact they committed 18 turnovers, including 15 by Henry and Foster.

Henry led Oskaloosa with 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds, Foster added 14 points to go along with 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. Hafner finished with 11, Yates was held to just four points and Noah Van Veldhuizen scored three.

With the win, Oskaloosa heads back to the 3A Championship game at 6:35 pm Friday for the second straight season, and will face off against a very familiar opponent, Little Hawkeye Conference champs Norwalk for the third time this season. The two split during the regular season with Norwalk handing Osky their first loss this season in Norwalk 58-46 on December 18th, but an inspired Oskaloosa team, playing without leading scorer Cole Henry, who was out with a hand injury, handled the Warriors rather easily at home a month ago 68-47 on February 9th. Norwalk has been hot during the state tournament beating Ballard in the quarterfinals 81-39 and getting past undefeated Clear Lake in the semifinals 61-54. Norwalk star, Junior Bowen Born leads all scorers in the tournament with 72 points in two games, and although it’s unlikely Osky will completely stop Born, the Indians will have to find a way to slow him up to stay in the game on Friday night.

Oskaloosa Head Coach Ryan Parker said in a post-game interview he has a lot of respect for Norwalk Coach Chris Larson and the Norwalk program, and looks forward to Osky vs. Norwalk round three for the state championship. “Playing in back-to-back state championships is not easy to do. We’re looking forward to representing the Little Hawkeye Conference, our school, and our community, this opportunity doesn’t come along often, and we can’t take that for granted.” Regarding Norwalk, Parker said “We’re the top two teams out of the LHC, the toughest conference in the state, and we’re meeting for a state title. Born is a tremendous player and they are very well coached. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’ll be prepared and ready.” Parker added, “Go Indians and let’s pack this place Friday night.”

Oskaloosa will look to bring home their first state basketball championship in school history after coming up just four points short a season ago. The all LHC 3A championship tips off at 6:35 pm Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines and you can listen live here on Oskaloosa News or the radio at 96.7 FM KIIC with Jamie Brockman and Doug DeKock calling the action courtside, with Brett Doud providing commentary and pre-game and post-game interviews from the stands. Our coverage begins with pre-game at 5:45 pm on Friday.

Posted by on Mar 8 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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