Lakers end season with pride
The Iowa Lakes men’s basketball team accomplished plenty this season. Beating Kirkwood in the regional tournament will have to wait though.
The Lakers won a hard-fought battle against Southwestern Community College, 79-72, on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s Region XI semifinals against No. 1 seed Kirkwood.
As in the previous two meetings, the Eagles had a little too much firepower. They took a 20-point halftime lead, 42-22, and won by 20, 75-55.
Kirkwood will host Ellsworth, an 82-80 winner over Des Moines Area Community in Sunday’s other semifinal, on Wednesday for the right to advance to the national Division II Tournament.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” said Iowa Lakes coach Troy Larson. “It would have been easy to fold after being down 20 in the second half, but I felt we fought them in the second half.”
Larson finishes his first season at Iowa Lakes with a 21-10 record, 9-5 in the region.
The coach said he told his players, especially his sophomores, after Sunday’s loss, that they helped take the Iowa Lakes program in the right direction.
“We have a great tradition at Iowa Lakes. Hopefully , we can keep it moving in the right direction,” Larson said. “These guys have a lot to do with that.”
Iowa Lakes needed a good start, a good middle and a good finish to defeat a talented Kirkwood squad.
Unfortunately, the Lakers didn’t start well.
In the first 11 minutes of the game, only Mitch Bain was hitting the shots as he scored the Lakers first 12 points.
Iowa Lakes trailed 6-4 after Bain hit his second basket. Then the Eagles hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Bain scored two more baskets, the second on an offensive rebound, to pull Iowa Lakes back within 12-8. But when he scored the team’s 11th and 12th points, Iowa Lakes trailed 22-12 with 10:18 remaining.
Jimmie Marshall and Cornelius Vines each knocked down a shot as the Lakers trailed 24-16 with eight minutes remaining, but that was followed by a 10-0 Kirkwood run.
Iowa Lakes trailed 40-20 when Jackson Parr hit a layup with 1:35 remaining and the Lakers had a little momentum heading into the lockerroom when Vines came up with a steal and layup off an inbounds pass.
Iowa Lakes battled throughout the second half just to stay within the 20-point range, but received contributions from more players.
Bain continued firing and at one point scored seven straight Laker points, but they still trailed 60-40 after a basket by Marshall with eight minutes remaining.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Vines and Bain brought the crowd back into the game at the six-minute mark, to bring the Lakers within 16, 64-48.
However, the Eagles responded with a three-point play and then Vines and Jackson Parr were both called for technicals. Four free throws later, the Lakers again trailed by 20-plus, 71-48.
Bain led the Lakers with 24 points while Marshall had 10.
Kirkwood held a huge advantage at the free throw line, making 28-of-30, while the Lakers were 0-of-3, all in the first half.
Playing in their final game for the Lakers were sophomores Jimmie Marshall, Bill Geelan, Mitch Bain, Cornelius Vines, Jackson Parr, Zach Fenceroy and David Fox.
Iowa Lakes 79, Southwestern 72
A 14-2 start in the first three minutes, gave the Lakers the cushion they needed against Southwestern on Saturday.
“I thought we had a lot of energy and our defense played really hard,” said Larson.
In the first half Southwestern battled back to within five twice, but the Iowa Lakes always had an answer.
Vines hit three 3-pointers in the first half to help Iowa Lakes maintain its lead and Marshall hit a three right before the half to give the Lakers a 47-39 edge.
Southwestern had the edge at the free throw line in the first half, making 19-of-24 while the Lakers were seven-of-12.
Also post player David Fox had a big game inside as he scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the first half.
However, the scoring slowed down as the defensive intensity picked up in the second half.
Iowa Lakes went cold for the first three minutes, but led 49-43 when Marshall scored with 16:40 remaining.
Iowa Lakes pushed the lead back to double digits when Dalston Jones knocked down a 3-pointer with 13:10 remaining.
While Iowa Lakes maintained its lead, the visitors pulled within three, 75-72 with 59.5 seconds left.
However, Marshall hit four free throws in the final 25 seconds to preserve the Laker victory. Vines had 20 points while Marshall had 16.
Iowa Lakes stats on Page 9.