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Up 41-38 with 2:25 remaining, it looked like the Lone Tree girls basketball team might be on their way to their first conference win. Suzanna Yoder changed that.
With just one minute left in the game, Yoder faked a drive, hopped back and drained a 3-point shot to give Iowa Mennonite the 43-41 lead. Eventually the Iowa Mennonite (2-10) girls defeated Lone Tree (1-12) 46-41.
“It felt so good, I kind of knew it went in when the entire crowd went wild,” Yoder said. “It was actually kind of the beginning to ‘oh yeah we can actually win this game.’”
The Iowa Mennonite girls finished on an 8-0 run to finish the game. The first two points came off trips to the free-throw line from Yoder and Alyssa Hershberger, who both went 1-of-2. That set up Yoder’s 3-point shot to take the lead. To close out the game Yani Gutierrez hit 1-of-2 and Hershberger hit both of her free throws to put the game out of reach for the Lady Lions.
The Iowa Mennonite defense held Lone Tree scoreless over the last 2:25 of the game, something Yoder attributes to locking down Riley Warson and turning up the pressure.
“I think we just made sure to pay attention to (Warson) because she was scoring a lot of points and being more aggressive,” Yoder said. “Kari (Heusinkveld) said ‘you just need to go out there and get stops’ so we were just a lot more aggressive.”
Warson finished the night with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Her offense gave Lone Tree the early lead and sustained them through the end of the game.
From the beginning of the game the Lone Tree defensive game plan was pretty clear — stop Suzanna Yoder. Yoder averages 21.8 of the 39.8 points per game that Iowa Mennonite scores, so if they could stop her they would throw the Iowa Mennonite offense off balance.
Early on it worked, as they held her scoreless for the first 12:34 of the game, with Yoder’s first basket coming on a 3-point shot in the second quarter. Lone Tree spent most of the game face-guarding Yoder and denying her any easy way to the ball.
“It’s extremely frustrating not scoring, but my coach always says I play better when I’m calm and relaxed,” Yoder said.
She said the resources that Lone Tree spent face-guarding her allowed her other teammates to shine, and shine they did. Hershberger had her best game of the season, scoring 13 points and grabbing 17 rebounds for the double-double.
In the first matchup against Iowa Mennonite this season, Lone Tree had struggled to get to the rim until later in the game, that wasn’t the case last Tuesday as Warson started driving to the rim early and her teammates Karli Burr and Sydney Alt joined her. Burr had four points and Alt had three to finish the night.
The win gives Iowa Mennonite the season sweep of Lone Tree, winning both games in an exciting fashion.
This week Iowa Mennonite will travel to Highland on Tuesday for the end of a four-game road stretch and then hosts Columbus Junction on Friday. Their first matchup against Highland was a 57-33 loss and their first game against Columbus was a 32-23 loss.
Lone Tree will face off against the SEISC North division’s top two teams, Pekin and Mediapolis.
Iowa Mennonite: 6; 12; 9; 19; 46
Lone Tree: 10; 10; 12; 9; 41
Suzanna Yoder 17
Alyssa Hershberger 13
Riley Warson 26
Karli Burr 4
Alyssa Hershberger 17
Payton Hart 7
Riley Warson 10
Sydney Alt 10
Three tied with 2
Holley Johnson 4