Keota outlasts HLVThe Warriors led going into the fourth quarter, but Keota rallied to win
KEOTA — Keota heated up just in time to avoid an upset loss on Monday night.
The Eagles trailed a two-win HLV squad heading into the fourth quarter of Monday’s South Iowa Cedar League contest, but used a couple of offensive bursts to defeat the Warriors 51-45.
“I think [in the fourth quarter] the kids just got a little more focused on what we needed to do,” Keota head coach Dan Stout said.
HLV (2-7, 2-7 SICL) led 35-34 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Eagles opened the period with an 11-0 run. Junior Justin Hultman scored a layup to give Keota the lead, and then junior Kolton Greiner scored nine straight points. He made two 3-pointers and finished off a conventional three-point play after a steal by teammate Derek Berg.
“We made a nice little run there at the start of the fourth quarter,” Stout said. “Kolton hit two threes there that really helped get us going.”
But after the Eagles (9-2, 8-2 SICL) scored 11 unanswered points, the Warriors came back with a run of their own. Senior Joe Stiefel hit a shot in the lane, junior Dakota Stults hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game, and senior Cole Lahndorf got a steal and a layup to trim Keota’s lead back to three points with 2:47 remaining.
“We showed our resiliency and we came back a little bit to make it close at the end,” HLV head coach Joe Verdeck said.
However, once the Warriors pulled within three, the Eagles stepped up on defense, not allowing another HLV basket until Lahndorf tossed in a meaningless 3-pointer with four seconds remaining.
“I thought our defense really clamped down there at the end,” Stout said. “We knew which kid we had to make sure we guarded.”
That player was Stults, who came off the HLV bench to sink four 3-pointers and score 16 points.
“When he gets hot, he’s tough to stop,” Verdeck said of Stults. “He’s a pretty good shooter. He’s just a nice weapon to have come in.”
Stiefel also scored 16 points for the Warriors, and Lahndorf chipped in nine.
Verdeck said it was disappointing to come so close to a big road win but fall short.
“It’s always tough to lose a close one, especially when you’re on the road in a pretty hostile environment going up against one of the better teams in the conference,” he said. “It stings, but we can take a lot of good, positive things out of it.”
Lahndorf’s baseline jumper with five seconds left in the first quarter gave HLV a 13-12 lead after eight minutes of play, and the Warriors extended their lead to 23-19 at the half. Stults knocked down a 3-pointer late in the third quarter that gave the visitors a 35-34 lead heading into the final stanza. But then the Eagles regrouped before the start of the fourth quarter.
“We talked about just playing good defense and being patient on offense and look inside before we settle for a three,” Greiner said. “The post players did a good job of looking for open shooters.”
Greiner hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 points in the contest. Junior Luke Lyle scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Eagles, who won their fifth straight game despite a lackluster effort.
“We were happy to pull out the win, but not happy with how we played,” Greiner said. “We want to contend for a conference title, and we know that if we play like that any team can beat us on any given night, so we just need to improve.”