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It was more of a nailbiter than the Lady Lions had hoped, but they eked out their first victory of the year by holding on after a Keota comeback came up short.
“It feels good because we’re finally getting into the groove of things. We still have our best basketball to play and we’re really working towards being better,” Riley Warson said.
Coming into Monday night’s game, Lone Tree had been held to 25 and 15 points in their first two losses and had struggled to score. That changed and Lone Tree had two players get into double figures with both Warson and Ashley Musser scoring 11 points on the night.
The first half was a battle between the two teams as the largest lead of the half was a four-point Lone Tree lead with the score at 4-0. Eventually Keota battled back and took a 16-15 lead into halftime. Warson scored eight of her 11 in the first half and gave Lone Tree some much needed offense.
In the second half though the Lone Tree offense got out to a quick start, going on a 11-1 run that forced a Keota timeout with 3:06 left in the third quarter. Eventually an Musser three-point shot gave Lone Tree a 10 point lead at 29-19 with 1:40 left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter is where things started to get scary for Lone Tree. Lone Tree lead 34-24 at the 7:03 mark of the fourth quarter and their offense cooled down and scored just four over the remainder of the game. While they cooled down, Keota’s Addison Sprouse heated up, hitting four three-point shots over the course of the fourth quarter.
The score was at 37-31 with 2:09 to go, but Sprouse hit two three-point shots to close the gap to 38-37. As the clock wound down below 10 seconds Lone Tree fouled Keota’s Jillian Schulte, who had two free throw shots and a one-point deficit.
Schulte missed both of those free throws and after a jump ball with the possession arrow towards Lone Tree the Lady Lions were able to run out the clock for the 38-37 victory.
“The big thing is we were more confident, which is really what they needed to do and hopefully getting a nice early season win after a few tough losses will help that,” Coach Jonathan Harshman said.
The offense showed up in a much bigger way according to Harshman and he said it was great to see Musser and Warson get into double digits.
“Our goal was we wanted to score 10 points per quarter and we almost got there, if we would have made a few of those missed free throws and layups we would have got there,” Harshman said.
He said a big thing was they kept their turnover numbers below 20 for the night, something they didn’t do in their first two games.
“It’s amazing what happens when you have seven or eight extra possessions. For us right now if we score one or two of those that’s a big difference,” Harshman said.
Lone Tree played Tuesday night against Iowa Mennonite school and plays Friday at home against Louisa-Muscatine.