The Oskaloosa basketball teams were in action Tuesday and on a night where all of the seniors were honored, there were nets cut down to celebrate at least a share of a conference title.
The Osky boys got the job done with a 65-56 win over their archrival Pella at home after a stiff test from the Little Dutch. The Osky girls had moments when they played well, but a couple of sustained runs by Pella allowed the Lady Dutch to win going away, 70-32.
The boys’ game was tight throughout, as the nine-point margin that Osky would win by was the largest for either team.
After a back-and-forth first quarter that saw both teams score 14 points, Pella would jump out to a 33-26 lead with a couple of minutes left in the second. Oskaloosa would close the half strong, however. After a couple of buckets and a late turnover, Osky’s Cole Henry would nail a buzzer beating three to cap a 10-0 run that gave Osky a 36-33 halftime edge.
In the third, the Indians would increase the lead to as many as seven, but Pella bounced back. Ryan Gustafson hit a three that punctuated a Dutch run that saw them take a 47-46 lead late in the 3rd. Another Osky buzzer beater, this time from Jarad Kruse, put Osky back in front heading to the fourth.
The last quarter proved to be Osky’s, as down the stretch baskets by Spencer Tucker and Xavier Foster helped give the Indians some breathing room. The team was 10 for 10 at the free throw line in the game and that, along with some defensive stops, helped ice the nine-point win.
The Indians were led by Jarad Kruse, who celebrated Senior Night with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and was a perfect five-for-five in free throws. Fellow senior Spencer Tucker went for 15 points and 4 assists while Cole Henry added 14 points and a game-high 6 assists.
Pella also had a trio in double figures with Ryan Gustafson leading the way with 15. Nick DeJong had 14 with 6 boards and sophomore guard Logan Shetterly added 12 points with 5 dimes.
With the victory, Oskaloosa knew they had at least a share of the Little Hawkeye Conference title and were waiting on the final score from Newton as the Cardinals hosted Norwalk. Norwalk would eventually come from 20 points down to win in a thrilling triple-overtime game, 107-104, which keeps their hopes alive for sharing the LHC title with the Indians.
That would require an Osky loss on the road at Indianola on Friday while the Warriors need a win as they host Grinnell. Either way, the Indians can claim a conference title in boys’ basketball for the first time since 1996 when they were in the South Central Conference.
Oskaloosa will enter that contest at Indianola 17-2 on the year and 12-1 in the LHC. Pella falls to 10-9 on the year and 5-8 in conference action.
The girls’ game featured Pella sprinting out to a 15-0 lead with several steals with their full-court pressure and getting easy transition layups. Oskaloosa would battle throughout the game and go toe-to-toe with Pella for moments in the first half, but were unable to overcome the poor start. Pella cruised to the finish with a 70-32 victory.
Oskaloosa was led by Marleigh Denburger, who had 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and one block.
Emily Holterhaus was dominant for the Lady Dutch with 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 steals.
Osky is now 0-20 on the year and 0-13 in conference play while Pella is 13-7 overall and 7-6 in the LHC.
The next game for Oskaloosa is Friday night as they face Indianola in the last doubleheader of the season. You can hear the game live on 99.5 FM/740 AM KMZN and the KMZN mobile app and check out a live video stream on radiokmzn.com and MCG Channel 7. The pregame show will start around 6 PM with the girls tipping off at 6:15.