The IMS girls picked up their first road win of the year as they completed the season sweep over the Lone Tree Lady Lions, 46-41.
Both teams got off to a slow start, but midway through the first quarter shots started to drop. IMS took a two point-deficit into the locker room at the half down 18-20, but being in tight games is becoming familiar territory for the small squad. “We played a decent first half, but struggled to get shots to drop early on, which made the game feel a lot different,” IMS head coach Kari Heusinkveld said. “The message at half time was to pick it up on the defensive end and offensively look to transition more and get the ball inside.”
The third quarter looked much like the first two, as IMS continued to struggle offensively, but good defense and strong rebounding kept the game well within reach. IMS found themselves down as many as six in the third quarter and headed in the fourth down 27-32. With 5:32 to go in the fourth, a Suzanna Yoder three cut the Lady Lion lead to 34-36 and sparked new life in the IMS offense. IMS tied the ball game at 38-38 with 3:00 to go, but a three from Lone Tree’s Riley Warson put them back on top. The following possession Yoder drew a quick foul attacking the basket and went 1-2 from the line. Down two, IMS dug in on the defensive end and forced a Lone Tree turnover that led to Alyssa Hershberger free throws. Hershberger went 1-2 from the line, which left IMS down 40-41 and in desperate need of another defensive stand. Moments later, the small squad forced a jump ball with the possession arrow favoring IMS.
Yoder brought the ball up the court and called for a screen. As her defender tried to fight over the screen to the right, Yoder calmly crossed over back to her left and drilled a three-pointer. The Yoder three put IMS up 43-41 with :45 left in regulation and they never looked back. IMS went on to close out the game from the charity stripe behind makes from Yani Guttierez-Larios and Hershberger.
“What a fight from our squad tonight,” Heusinkveld said. “We never got rattled and kept our composure down the stretch. This team just never gives up. We’ve found ourselves in several close games over the last couple of weeks, so it’s good to see us close this one out, it means we’re learning.”
IMS was led by Yoder who finished with 17 points, four assists and two steals. Hershberger recorded her first double-double of the season with 13 points and a game high 17 rebounds. Avery Blauvelt finished with seven points to go with three assists and Guttierez-Larios added six points. Payton Hart rounded out the scoring with three points.
Yoder is now second in the conference in scoring averaging 21.2 points per game and sixth in assists averaging 4.1 per game. Hershberger ranks eighth in rebounds at 9.0 per game.
IMS (2-9) continues a stretch of road games as they head to Wapello (8-4) on Friday, January 12th. Tipoff is set for 6pm.