By Sam Parsons
The Oskaloosa girls and boys basketball teams suited up for another conference twin bill on Friday; this time, they hit the road to face the Newton Cardinals.
Osky’s girls found themselves in a physical, low-scoring affair to start the night. Both teams played aggressive defense, but in the first half, the officials let the teams play, and as such, the half ended with just 38 combined points as the Cardinals led 20-18.
The atmosphere shifted in the second half when the physical nature of the game began to be legislated with a more hands-on approach. In a short span during the third quarter, Cardinal point Sophia Reynolds, the team’s leader in points, assists, and steals, racked up several personal fouls and found herself with 4 midway through the period. At the start of the 4th, the Indians were still down 25-24, but the opportunity was there for them to take the lead.
They took the opportunity and ran with it. Shots that weren’t falling for the Indians in the first half began to do so in the second, as junior wing Lydia Van Veldhuizen, who was held scoreless in the first half, caught fire with 9 points, most of which came in the fourth quarter. Things went from bad to worse for the Cardinals when Reynolds fouled out, and their remaining players continued to play aggressive defense to no avail; Indians senior Presley Blommers was sent to the free throw line on four different occasions, all in the fourth quarter, and drained all 8 of her free throw attempts. The Indians scored 23 points in the fourth after scoring just 24 in their first three quarters and won convincingly on the scoreboard, 47-33.
The boys game, on the other hand, was handled by the Cardinals from the tip. Blessed with a remarkable amount of experience and team leadership (the Cardinals have 13 seniors on their roster), Newton was able to control both ends of the floor throughout the night. Senior forward Cole Plowman was the centerpiece in the beginning as the Cardinals funneled passes to him in the low post and he accounted for 17 of the Cardinals’ 34 first half points. The Cardinals forced a slew of turnovers on defense in the first half as well, staking a 34-12 lead.
From there, it was time for Newton to hit cruise control. The Indians were able to see some offensive improvement in the second half with better shooting led by junior Aidan Scholes, but the Cardinals never let them back in the game. The final score was 61-39 in favor of the Cardinals to split the doubleheader.
The Osky girls (4-5) will travel to PCM on Monday. The boys (1-8) will host Grinnell on Tuesday.