Mustangs lose opener to Grizzlies

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High’s Michael Middleton drives with the basketball while teammate Chris Heffern sets a screen against Labette County High’s Collin New (12) in Tuesday’s Southeast Kansas League game at Altamont. The Grizzlies defeated the visiting Mustangs 65-35.

ALTAMONT — Tough lessons came to Iola High’s Mustangs on the road in their 2009-2010 season opener Tuesday.
The Mustangs failed to shoot the basketball over 21 percent from the field. Lesson No. 1 — “that’s not going to win ball games for us.”
It didn’t in the Southeast Kansas League opener against host Labette County High’s Grizzlies. The Grizzlies worked steadily ahead of the Mustangs all night long and posted a 65-35 win.
“We had trouble shooting the ball tonight. We had flashes when we’d run the offense of getting good looks. The shots didn’t ball,” said Steve Taylor, Mustang head coach.
“Labette County shot the ball extremely well and we didn’t.”
The Mustangs broke out to a 4-2 lead on baskets by Alec Peterson and Charles Apt. Labette County’s Brannon Green wiped that away in two shots — a three-pointer and a jumper.
Peterson hit a free throw and two minutes later Kent Toland scored on a putback. That tied the game at 7-7.
Labette County’s Collin New and Iola’s Chris Heffern traded baskets. Green, who had a game-high 23 points, put his team in front 11-9 by the end of the period.
The Grizzlies started the second quarter on a 7-0 run. Seth Walden drained two threes in a row from the same spot for Iola.
Unfortunately, the Mustangs could not make stops defensively as the Grizzlies continued to score. It was 22-16 with 2:54 left in the first half. By intermission, Labette County was up 30-20.
“We were still in the game at halftime. We came out and played pretty well the opening four minutes,” Taylor said.
“What we have to learn is we have to practice at game speed and at game intensity to be able to sustain those things in games. Until our guys learn to be a winning team, which comes by practicing hard, we’re not going to be better.”
The Grizzlies stretched their lead to 15 points, 45-30, heading into the final eight minutes of play. They had another 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter and it was over.
Walden fired in 12 points for Iola and Apt added nine. Peterson collected six rebounds. Michael Middleton had two assists and one steal.
Iola was 6 of 21 from inside the paint. The Mustangs finished the game shooting 10 of 47 from the field. They sank 13 of 18 free throws.
Labette County got 14 points from Collin New. The Grizzlies were 9 of 15 at the free-throw line.
Iola has its home opener Friday when Independence comes to town in SEK play.
Labette County won the junior varsity game 58-40. Christian Kauth scored 14 points for Iola.
Labette County won the freshman game 68-50. Garrett Catron had 10 points for Iola.
Iola (9-11-10-5—35) (FG/3-pt): Browning 0-0-2-0, Ch. Heffern 1-0-2-2, Toland 1-1-0-3, Kauth 0-2-0-2, D. Walden 0-1-1-1, S. Walden 2/2-2-2-12, Apt 3-3-1-9, Middleton 0-3-4-3, Peterson 1-1-4-3. TOTALS: 8/2-13-16-35.
Labette County (2/1-0-1-7, New 4-6-2-14, Brown 0-0-1-0, Krewson 0-0-3-0, Traxson 2-0-3-4, Smith 2-0-2-4, B. Green 7/2-3-3-23, Spencer 2/1-0-0-7, Nash 1-0-0-2, Hosey 2-0-3-4, A. Green 0-0-1-0. TOTALS: 22/4-9-19-65.