By Sam Parsons
The Oskaloosa Indians girls and boys basketball teams kicked off their season on the road on Tuesday night at Fairfield.
The night began with the girls game, with the lady Indians returning 4 starters (Dasia Foster, Lydia Van Veldhuizen, Kassie Johnson, and Evelyn Adam) from last year’s team that finished with a 9-13 record. Fairfield, meanwhile, also returned 4 starters from their squad last season that finished 2-19.
The first quarter of the girls game was a back-and-forth affair. Freshman Haylee Parker was a new addition to the Indians’ starting lineup and kicked her varsity career off with a bang, draining back-to-back three point attempts, but Fairfield was quick to respond with a pair of 3 point buckets of their own. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 11-9 in favor of the Indians.
In the second and third quarters, however, the Indians settled into playing the form of offense that they were hoping to see. Fewer three point shot attempts coincided with an emphasis on working junior big Dasia Foster open down low and finding driving lanes for wing players. On defense, the Indians ran man-to-man for most of the night to great effect, mostly neutralizing the outside movement from Fairfield’s ball handlers and Foster used her size to reject several attempts in the paint. The end result saw the Indians hold the Trojans to just 2 points in the entire second quarter, and only 6 points in the third, and all the while the offense kept humming. By the start of the 4th quarter, the game was well in hand with the Indians leading 46-17, and they were able to coast to a 58-31 victory from there.
The boys game followed, and unfortunately for Oskaloosa, a sweep was not in the cards. The Trojans trotted out a lineup consisted mostly of players that didn’t receive too much playing time on a senior-heavy team last year, but they didn’t let it get in their way: the Trojans jumped out to a quick lead in the game and were able to hold the Indians at arms’ length the rest of the way.
Fairfield led 23-13 after the first quarter of play, which featured 10 points from senior Sam Weaton. Osky was led by senior Aidan Scholes, who was a bright spot on the night slashing through lanes and finding points up close. He finished the night with a team-high 16 points, but they all came in the first half, and those points alone weren’t enough to overcome a hot night of outside shooting for the Trojans, who finished 6/10 from downtown.
Another key trend on the night was the disparity between the free throw shooting success of the two teams. Each team had 19 attempts from the charity stripe; the Indians made 6 of them (31.6%) while the Trojans made 13 (68.4%).
The closest the Indians came to making it a game was in the third quarter, when they brought themselves within 4 points after some nice playmaking from sophomore Max Roach, who finished the night with 14 points despite missing chunks of the second, third, and fourth quarters due to being in early foul trouble. However, the Trojans answered quickly to any positive runs from the Indians, finishing the game with a 67-54 win.
Oskaloosa’s girls and boys will host Pella Christian on Friday for what will be both their home opener and Little Hawkeye Conference opener.