Mustangs down Blue Comets

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High’s Seth Walden pulls up at the top of the lane to shoot over a Chanute High defender in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s Southeast Kansas League contest at Chanute. Walden, who had 26 points, led the visiting Mustangs to a 66-56 victory.

CHANUTE — Four quarters of steady play at both ends of the court paid dividends for Iola High’s Mustangs.
And how. It was even sweeter to come against the Mustangs archrivals, the Chanute High Blue Comets, on the Comets’ court Friday night. The Mustangs posted a 66-56 Southeast Kansas League win over the Comets.
“When we showed patience at the offensive end and got good looks at the basket, we made the shots. That translated in us playing better defensively and rebound better,” said Steve Taylor, Mustang head coach.
“We got off to a solid start tonight and never had that offensive lull. We kept playing hard at both ends.”
Not even Chanute’s 6-7 senior Cory Henshall hampered the Mustangs. The Blue Comet post player was a non-factor, scoring just six points in the final two minutes of the game.
“He didn’t start for them but when he was in our guys did a nice job on him. Our post players and guards helped in on him,” Taylor said.
What happened was the Mustangs shot 52 percent, 22 of 52, from the field. They cashed in 19 of 32 free throw attempts. They controlled 28 rebounds and had 16 turnovers in the game.
Senior Seth Walden fired in 26 points plus had three rebounds and two steals for Iola. Michael Middleton, another senior, was 6 of 6 at the free-throw line as he scored 11 points. Middleton also pulled down eight rebounds and had three steals.
Chanute shot the basketball. The Blue Comets had eight three-pointers — three each by Dustin Eccles and Andrew Parrish.
The Comets pushed out to an 8-4 lead but Iola rattled off six straight. It started with a basket by senior post player Alec Peterson followed by a field goal from senior guard Kent Toland.
Henshall came in with 10 seconds left in the first quarter and committed a foul. Middleton sank two free throws to put Iola up 10-8.
Iola never trailed again. The score was tied twice, at 12 and 14, in the first three minutes of the second quarter.
A three-pointer by sophomore Drew Walden put Iola up for good at 17-14. Seth Walden made in 19-14.
Eccles, who led Chanute with 25 points, hit two free throws at the 3:24 mark to pull his team to within one, 20-19.
Iola responded with a putback by junior Charles Apt. Peterson and Apt hit free throws to give the Mustangs a 25-19 lead. The Mustangs went into halftime up 29-22.
Neither team scored for a couple minutes after the break. Toland sank one of two charities and Seth Walden hit a trey giving Iola a 33-22 margin at the 5:01 mark.
The Comets weren’t going away. They stormed back to make it 35-32.
Seth Walden drained a three then later it was Drew Walden with a stickback. The Mustangs were up 41-37 heading into the final quarter.
Middleton’s three-pointer countered a trey by Eccles and Iola was up 46-40 with just under six minutes to play. Eccles and Matt Bollig had back-to-back baskets to cut the margin to two.
Coming out of a timeout, Iola turned the ball over on a tie-up. But the Mustangs played well defensively.
A long rebound from a missed Chanute three was gathered in by Middleton. Middleton made a pass down court leading to a Seth Walden layup.
Toland scored making it 50-46 midway through the quarter. Seth Walden’s three touched off a seven-point run.
Chanute extended the game by putting Iola on the free-throw line. Middleton, Toland, Seth Walden and Apt hit free throws in the final two minutes to seal the win.
“We settled down when they made their run at us and were patient. We hit (free) throws tonight but we still have to get better at free throw shooting,” Taylor said. “This was a good win to go into Christmas break with.”
Iola improved to 2-2 overall and in SEK play.
Chanute took the junior varsity game 53-31. Christian Kauth scored 12 for Iola.
The Mustang freshmen won 62-52. Levi Ashmore fired in 24 points and Garret Catron had 10.
Iola is back in action Jan. 5 at Parsons.
Iola (10-19-12-25—66) (FG/3-pt): Ch. Heffern 0-0-2-0, Toland 2-3-3-7, D. Walden 2/1-1-0-8, S. Walden 6/3-5-1-26, Apt 2-3-1-7, Middleton 1/1-6-2-11, Peterson 3-1-4-7. TOTALS: 17/5-19-13-66.
Chanute (8-14-15-19—56) (FG/3-pt): Height 0-0-4-0, Williams 1/2-3-3-11, Hale 0-1-0-1, Eccles 6/3-4-4-25, Parrish 0/3-0-2-9, Bollig 1-2-5-4, Henshall 3-0-4-6. TOTALS: 11/8-10-22-46.