By Sam Parsons
It was an eventful weekend for Oskaloosa basketball as the Indians hosted a girls and boys twin bill against conference foe Norwalk on Friday and the girls welcomed Washington to the gym the following day.
Friday’s doubleheader opened with the girls facing the Norwalk Warriors, who came into the game right below the Indians in the conference standings.
The two teams battled back and forth but for much of the game, Norwalk held the lead. A young, undersized Warriors team relied more heavily on their outside shooting game to score points and sophomore point Bailey Birmingham showed out with a nice performance, scoring 23 points; however, the Warriors’ lack of size meant that they couldn’t get much in the way of inside scoring and they were dominated on the boards by Osky’s 6’3″ sophomore Dasia Foster. Foster had her best night of the season to date, scoring 18 points and racking up a season-high 24 rebounds.
Trouble came early for the Indians when senior Presley Blommers was booked for two personal fouls in the first two minutes of action and was forced to sit out the remaining 6 minutes of the first quarter; however, the Indians were able to keep the train on the tracks. Senior Maddy Moorman came off the bench and made a pair of good defensive plays before draining a 2 point jumper to hold the Indians over as they ended the quarter up 10-9; the Warriors would get going offensively and take the lead by halftime, though, 21-17, and they entered the fourth quarter with a slim advantage as well.
Then the Indian offense came alive in the fourth. Blommers kept up her hot shooting as she finished with 23 points, going 7/12 from the field (2/3 3 PT) and 7/9 from the free throw line. The Warriors had difficulties keeping up and were forced to play the foul game in the final 90 seconds; the Indians wound up with 22 points in the fourth quarter to lift them over the Warriors, giving the program its first win over Norwalk since December 2018.
The nightcap of the doubleheader saw the Indians’ boys team face off against an experienced Norwalk squad that entered the game with a 7-3 record and four starters returning from last year’s team. The Warriors fell behind early to the Indians who had a brilliant start shooting from the field; junior Aidan Scholes hit a trifecta of triples in the first quarter on his way to a 17 point outing. The Indians held a 17-12 lead after the first quarter.
However, the Indians’ sparkling start would soon be doused by a downpour of Warrior shots as Norwalk started burying field goals. Junior Redek Born was the catalyst for Norwalk as he put up 23 points on the night, going 7/9 from the field and 5/7 from downtown. The Warriors scored 19 points in the second, 28 points in the third, and 16 more in the fourth to run away with the game as the Indians cooled off from the field. Further adding to the Indians’ woes was an injury suffered by freshman point Max Roach in the first half as he raced down the floor following a steal to attempt a transition lay-up, but fell hard on his left ankle and was helped off the floor. Roach came back in to start the second half, but aggravated his injury and was held out the remainder of the night. The Indians weren’t able to overcome all of the adversity as they fell 77-42. The Indians (1-10) will travel to Mount Pleasant tomorrow night (1/17).
On Saturday, Osky’s girls returned to the floor for their fourth game of the week as they hosted the 6-5 Washington Demons.
The game featured an overwhelming explosion by the Indians in the first half. Dasia Foster had another banner evening for the Indians as she again used her size to dominate in the low post with 17 points and 15 rebounds on the night. The Indians had remarkable success at getting the ball down low, either passing to Foster or driving the lane, and their man-to-man defense neutralized the Demons from the field as they rocketed out to a 22-2 lead by the end of the first quarter and a 39-14 lead at halftime.
The Indians only made a pair of three-pointers on the night as Presley Blommers facilitated the offense with 14 points and 5 assists. Junior Lydia Van Veldhuizen had success on the inside as well with 9 points and 8 rebounds and sophomore Hannah Nelson also had a productive night with 8 points and 6 boards. The Indians were able to hit cruise control in the second half and never let the Demons back in the game as they earned a convincing 53-31 win to lift them back over the .500 mark at 7-6 on the season. The Indians will take a few days off after the busy week before they host the Knoxville Panthers on Thursday.