The Oskaloosa basketball teams hosted Newton on Tuesday night and the two games were decided by a nail-biting five points combined. The Osky boys survived a late Newton rally by winning, 57-56, while the Indian girls battled but ultimately fell, 28-24.
The boys’ game was one where Osky hoped to get a more comfortable win after outlasting Newton in a tight 56-53 game on the road in December. But Garrett Sturtz and his All-State caliber resume would not go quietly into the Oskaloosa night.
The game was very back and forth from the start, with Newton closing the first quarter on a 9-1 run to take a 12-10 lead. In the second quarter, Osky’s offense got going and a buzzer beater layup by Cole Henry gave the Indians a 30-27 lead at the half.
After the break, things got sloppy as both teams struggled mightily to score points. Sturtz would eventually draw his fourth foul, which all came on charges offensively. Unfortunately, Osky was unable to take advantage of Sturtz being off the floor as they only increased their lead to 37-32 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The fourth was the exact opposite, as both teams lit up the gym for a combined 44 points. Many of those came from Sturtz, who would score 22 of the 24 Newton points down the stretch. Oskaloosa would counter with Spencer Tucker scoring six points late including two free throws after the Newton bench was assessed a technical foul.
As the game wore on, Sturtz got a three-point play to cut the Osky lead to one and Rian Yates was fouled by the Cardinals with just under 10 seconds to play. After Newton called a timeout to ice the shooter, Yates missed the front end of the 1-and-1 opportunity, allowing Newton a chance to win. Sturtz drove down the floor but picked up his dribble at the three-point line and pump faked. The Oskaloosa defense didn’t bite as Sturtz attempted a tough leaning shot to draw a foul. There was no whistle, and the Indians survived.
Oskaloosa got 18 points and 5 rebounds from both Cole Henry and Jarad Kruse who were vital pieces to the Osky puzzle. Spencer Tucker also was in double figures with 10 points and added 7 assists.
Sturtz led the way for the Cardinals with an impressive 42 points to go with 9 rebounds. He shot 13 for 14 from the free throw line. In two games against Oskaloosa, the Newton senior scored a combined 86 points.
With the win, the top-ranked Indians move to 16-1 overall and 11-0 in Little Hawkeye Conference play. Newton falls to 9-6 overall and 5-6 in the LHC.
The girls’ game was equally entertaining from a competitive standpoint, as the Osky girls mounted a comeback from 14 points down to put plenty of pressure on Newton.
Marleigh Denburger, Oskaloosa’s leading scorer coming into the game, was saddled with foul trouble throughout the first half and the Cardinals built up a 22-8 halftime lead. But the Indians chipped away to head to the fourth down 27-20.
The fourth quarter saw Newton employ a stalling strategy to limit Osky’s possessions. This resulted in a slow quarter pace-wise, and forced Oskaloosa to pressure the ball as time went on. Unfortunately, the Indians couldn’t find buckets on their end to complete the comeback while Newton struggled to ice the game from the free throw line.
After the smoke cleared, Newton was outscored in a poor shooting fourth period, 4-1, but held on to beat Osky, 28-24.
Marleigh Denburger, Lindsey Holmberg, and Mary Nelson all had 6 points for Osky in the game. Nelson also had 8 rebounds. Emma Kelderman had a solid game despite going scoreless with 7 boards and 3 assists. Holmberg had 3 steals on the defensive end.
Newton was led by Taylor Ryan, who scored 8 points off the bench, all in the first half. Anna Forsyth was the engine for Newton, scoring 6 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and getting 3 steals while serving as the lead guard for the Cardinals. Marcelina Marvelli had 5 points and 4 steals and Ali Bestell had 5 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks for Newton.
Osky is now 0-18 on the year and 0-11 in the Little Hawkeye. Newton snapped a ten-game losing streak and are now 4-15 overall and 2-9 in the conference with both wins coming against Oskaloosa.
Osky has a big doubleheader on Friday on the road at Norwalk. The Indian boys dominated a very good Norwalk team early in January and the Warriors will be looking to return the favor in a matchup of highly ranked teams. The girls’ game should also be competitive as Norwalk has struggled in conference play.
Due to space restrictions, we will have AUDIO ONLY for the Oskaloosa vs. Norwalk doubleheader on Friday night. The broadcast starts at 6 PM and the girls will start around 6:15. You can hear all the action on 99.5 FM/740 AM KMZN, radiokmzn.com, and the KMZN mobile app.