Hot start lifts No. 3 Lone Tree over IMS
KALONA — Since losing 72-54 at Lone Tree on Nov. 30, the IMS boys’ basketball team felt as if it had improved a lot. The squad had won nine straight games, and had a lot of confidence heading into Friday’s rematch with the rival Lions.
But Lone Tree came out red hot, making its first 11 shots from the field to start the game and open up a 17-point first-quarter lead. From there, the third-ranked Lions rolled to a 72-48 win.
“We talked about it yesterday in practice, and we talked about it a lot on Wednesday, that we thought to win at IMS we had to come out and have a real strong start,” Lone Tree head coach Tom Squiers said. “We had to come out intense and try to establish ourselves right away because this is a tough place to play and IMS is known for making runs. So I told our guys that we really needed to get off to a fast start and try to seize the momentum right away. I think the first 4-6 minutes of that game was the key to victory.”
By the time senior Bryan Forbes clanked a 3-pointer off the rim for Lone Tree’s first miss of the game, the Lions had built a 25-8 lead with 1:10 remaining in the first quarter.
“There was a lot at stake in this game, and we knew we had to come out strong with these guys because if you let them hang in there, it’s going to be a tough one,” Forbes said. “From the beginning, we needed to come out strong and then maintain it throughout the game. That’s what we did.”
Lone Tree was 11-for-14 from the field in the first quarter and led 25-10 after eight minutes of play.
“They shot the ball so well in the first half,” IMS head coach Dwight Gingerich said. “It really put the pressure on us.”
Meanwhile, IMS was just 4-for-13 from the field in the first quarter.
“I was disappointed we didn’t come out a little more sharp and aggressive,” Gingerich said. “I thought we were on our heels. It was 4-4, and then, boom, they put something together quickly. We just didn’t play with the kind of intensity we’ve got to have to play with these guys.”
After Lone Tree grabbed the early lead, IMS seemed to become impatient on the offensive end, chucking up quick shots.
“It kind of seemed like we started rushing things a little bit,” IMS junior Reggie Hostetler said. “We were playing a little bit silly and just put our heads down and went a little bit too much. I guess you could say we were a little bit rattled.”
That’s because it was the first time this season that IMS had fallen behind so far so quickly.
“Honestly, that’s the first time this year we’ve been in that situation,” Gingerich said. “The first time we played them we were right with them through the first half. So down 25-8 we just didn’t respond real well to that.”
Lone Tree led by as many as 21 points in the second quarter, and the Lions extended their lead to 24 points in the third.
“I thought our guys played extremely intense for 32 minutes,” Squiers said. “I didn’t think we really had a letdown.”
Forbes scored a game-high 31 points to lead Lone Tree (13-0, 11-0 SEISC North).
“He’s an excellent player,” Hostetler said of Forbes. He’s a huge problem to slow down and very tough. We just didn’t do our best against him, I suppose.”
Seniors Logan Forbes and Andy Dodson added 10 points apiece for the Lions, who now hold a two-game lead in the SEISC North Division standings.
Senior Peyton Thompson scored 19 points to lead IMS (10-2, 10-2 SEISC North), and senior Cameron Gingerich added 15.
With its nine-game winning streak snapped, IMS will go back to trying to improve as a basketball team.
“They obviously exposed some things we’ve really got to work at,” Dwight Gingerich said. “It obviously points out areas that we’ve got to really focus on. Right now we’re just all about trying to improve in those areas. We’re not going to advance very far [in the postseason] if we don’t take care of some of that.”