Purple Dragons pressurize Mustangs

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register File Photo/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High Seth Walden (30) puts up a shot against Pittsburg High in an earlier home game this season. The Mustangs lost 59-40 at Pitttsburg Thursday to end the regular season.

PITTSBURG — Two three-pointers by Seth Walden and a three-point play by Trent Jacobs, who also had two more baskets, helped Iola High’s Mustangs to grab the lead Thursday night.
Playing in their season and Southeast Kansas League finale on the road, the Mustangs were leading 13-10 with under a minute left in the first quarter. Pittsburg High’s Purple Dragons awoke to go on a 19-2 run that spanned the end of the first quarter and first 2:43 of the second quarter.
The Dragons, playing for a possible slice of the SEK league championship, began pulling away en route to a 59-40 win.
That combined with a wins by Parsons, 49-42, over Labette County and Fort Scott, 64-55, over Coffeyville provided a three-way tie for the SEK title between Labette County, Pittsburg and Fort Scott, all at 12-4.
Iola dropped to 3-13 in SEK play and 3-17 overall.
The Mustangs, who are the No. 8 seed, move into Kansas Class 4A Substate Tournament play Monday. They go to top-seeded Ottawa with tipoff at 7:30 p.m. as part of a doubleheader at Ottawa High School.
“We couldn’t handle the ball against their pressure. They went to their 1-3-1, half-court trap defense and we turned the ball over too many times,” said Steve Taylor, Mustang head coach.
“We didn’t make smart decisions with the ball.”
Following the Dragon run in the second quarter, Jacobs sank both ends of a one-and-one with 2:43 left to make it 29-17. The lone basket by Iola interrupting the Pittsburg run was by Chad Rourk early in the second period.
Keagan Luttrell deflected a Pittsburg pass that allowed Jacobs to score, closing the gap to 10. Jacobs, who led Iola with 20 points, eight rebounds and two steals, kept the Mustangs within 10 points by halftime, 33-23.
Pittsburg rattled off five unanswered points to begin the third quarter. Jacobs fired in a three-pointer for the Mustangs but was countered by a trey from Blake Wilson for Pittsburg. The Dragons outscored Iola 14-7 to gain a 47-30 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Iola got within 12, 50-38, then Pittsburg finished the game on a 9-2 run. Iola shot just 30 percent, 13 of 43, from the field. The Mustangs were 6 of 22 from three-point range. They hit 8 of 12 free throw attempts.
Pittsburg got 14 points each from Wilson and Miles Crowley and 13 points from Jordan Elliott. The Dragons were 23 of 46, 50 percent, from the field, and downed 9 of 10 free throw attempts.
Pittsburg won the junior varsity game 60-46. Trae Pulley led Iola with 11 points and Clint Heffern added nine.
Pittsburg beat Iola’s freshmen 66-50. Christian Kauth had 21 points for Iola while Heffern and Jerrik Sigg each had nine points.
Iola (13-10-7-10—40) (FG/3-pt): Kea. Luttrell 0/1-0-2-3, Kie. Luttrell 0/1-0-0-3, Rourk 1-0-3-2, Jacobs 5/1-7-0-20, Walden 0/2-0-2-6, Cook 0/1-0-1-3, Middleton 0-0-4-0, Peterson 0-1-0-1, Apt 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 7/6-8-12-40.
Pittsburg (15-18-14-12—59) (FG/3-pt): Reed 1-0-0-2, Wilson 4/2-0-1-14, Elliott 5/1-0-1-13, Mendez 1-3-1-5, Bicknell 3-0-4-6, Crowley 4-6-2-14, Younge 2-1-2-5. TOTALS: 20/3-10-11-59.