IMS knocked off the Keota Eagles in dramatic fashion Tuesday night, 49-48.
IMS was plagued by foul trouble through the opening minutes of the first quarter which led to a slow start. But once the squad settled in, they seized control of the game. The dangerous guard combo of Suzanna Yoder and Yani Gutierrez-Larios showed off their range early as the pair knocked down two threes apiece. As Keota drew further out to defend the three, things opened up inside for junior forward Mia Graber who knocked down a pair of buckets. “I thought our focus and commitment from the jump was excellent tonight,” IMS head coach Kari Heusinkveld said. “Yoder and Gutierrez-Larios were aggressive early and let it fly. When they get going, it’s tough to slow down. That inside out game we saw in the first quarter and even more so in the second will be huge for us over the course of the season.”
The hot shooting from IMS continued through the second quarter which allowed senior forward Rubye Ney to get in on the action. Ney and freshman forward Leah Bontrager knocked down buckets from the high post that helped IMS take a 32-28 lead into the locker room at the half.
IMS led by as many as eight in the third quarter and headed into the fourth with a five-point lead but Keota continued to fight. With 3:04 to go, Keota hit a three to tie the game at 41-41 and forced IMS to call a timeout. Out of the timeout IMS executed a set piece, and a Yoder drive that collapsed the defense allowed Gutierrez-Larios to get free. Gutierrez-Larios knocked down a long two to put them back up 43-41 but on the following possession Keota answered. Quick ball movement by the Eagles led to another three and with 1:30 to go IMS was down 43-44. Moments later IMS got a good look inside but the shot didn’t fall. Keota secured the rebound and with one-minute left to play they called another timeout.
IMS went for a steal on the following possession but a foul was called which sent Keota to the line. The Eagles knocked down both free throws leaving IMS down 43-46 and as Yoder brought the ball across half court, IMS called another timeout. With 0:42 left in regulation IMS executed another set piece and with just enough room Yoder knocked down a three over two Keota defenders to tie the game at 46-46. Keota called a timeout with 0:15 and the chess match continued.
Keota struck quick and scored a bucket to put them back up by two, but only a few seconds ran off the clock. With 0:06 remaining IMS called another timeout and drew up one final piece. Graber inbounded the ball to Yoder and as she went to attack off a ball screen Keota fouled; 0:02. With only four team fouls, it was clear that Keota would try to disrupt the remaining time by fouling to not allow a shot attempt but IMS had a better idea. As Graber inbounded the ball to Yoder she quickly turned and launched from three knowing that a foul would come. As the final buzzer sounded a whistle blew, and with no time on the clock Yoder stepped to the line all by herself. As both teams eagerly waited at half court Yoder calmly drained 3/3 from the line to secure the 49-48 victory for IMS.
“This game…this was fun,” Heusinkveld said. “I’m really proud of this group and the way we bounced back after a rough opener on Friday. We shot the ball with confidence tonight and got big contributions from everyone. Five of our eight varsity kids that see minutes are underclassmen so for us to be in a tight game like this and finish down the stretch is great to see. We’re far from where we want to be but we saw glimpses of what we can be tonight and that’s exciting.”
Yoder led all scorers with 24 points, five assists, three steals and six rebounds. Gutierrez-Larios recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Graber added seven points to go with two assists. Ney and Bontrager rounded out the scoring with four and two points respectively. Ney also pulled down six boards.
IMS (1-1) returns to action Tuesday, November 27th as they host Lone Tree. JV tips off at 4:30 PM with Varsity to follow at 6 PM.