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Lone Tree did the little things right and built up their small advantages in a 57-55 win over Iowa Mennonite.
It seemed at the end of every quarter Lone Tree was able to come up with a big play that put momentum in their favor.
At the end of the first, Cale Yoder grabbed an offensive rebound before hitting a fadeaway to cut Iowa Mennonite’s lead to just four. At the end of the second Tyler McCullough hit a 3-point shot to give Lone Tree a lead. At the end of the third, Lone Tree’s offense ran out the clock and hit another big 3-pointer. Then, in the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter Bryce Houser hit two free throws and Keegan Edwards stole an inbound pass to seal the game.
“I thought we did a really good job of running the offense in those situations,” head coach Tom Squiers said.
He said it wasn’t the offense that led to the victory, but rather a big effort by his team to take responsibility for their defensive effort.
“I kind of challenged them last night at practice that we need to start getting down and guarding if we want to turn this season around,” Squiers said.
Lone Tree’s Keegan Edwards, who had six steals on the night, said they switched up their defense from man to zone depending on the situation and it helped throw Iowa Mennonite off.
“We just want to switch up their offense. So on makes we would run man (defense) and misses zone (defense) or sometimes switch it up. That’s just to switch up their offense and get them to run something different,” Lone Tree forward Keegan Edwards said.
Iowa Mennonite quickly got out to a lead and Lone Tree spent the rest of the first half chasing Iowa Mennonite before eventually taking back the lead 29-26 at halftime. From that point on Lone Tree didn’t give up the lead, but Iowa Mennonite came close a few times.
After Lone Tree built a decent lead in the third quarter, Iowa Mennonite started working the ball inside to Kobe Borntrager and Jeremy Niemeyer, who combined for 28 points on the night.
In the final 90 seconds of the game Iowa Mennonite got two tying looks at the basket, a Kobe Borntrager elbow jumper and a Eli Ours 3-point attempt.
Iowa Mennonite coach Dwight Gingerich said both looks were good shots and just the nature of basketball.
“Next time he’ll make that look,” he said.
The win serves as a confidence builder for Lone Tree, who lost by 22 points to Iowa Mennonite in their season opener. Gingerich said that just shows the craziness in the Super Conference this season.
“It’s a deal where we’ve talked about how our league is a little bit crazy. You have teams beating teams that earlier in the year they lost to by a lot of points,” Gingerich said.
Iowa Mennonite is now two games back of Pekin in the SEISC North and Lone Tree has moved up a spot in front of Louisa-Muscatine for sixth in the division.
“We’re not in a position to win a conference title with five losses, but our goal is to have a winning season and to do that you have to beat some good teams,” Squiers said.
According to the BCMoore computer rankings, it was the first win for Lone Tree over a team ranked higher than them this season.
Iowa Mennonite: 15; 11; 13; 16; 55
Lone Tree: 11; 18; 15; 13; 57