By Sam Parsons
The Oskaloosa Indians’ boys team entered the 3A playoffs with a 3-18 record and a first round matchup on the road at the #6 Newton Cardinals on Monday as a heavy underdog. The Indians had lost to the Cardinals 61-39 in their first matchup this season and then 79-43 in their second, and the Cardinals had only lost one game to a 3A opponent all season (to #1 ranked Bondurant-Farrar). In short, expectations were generally low for the Indians’ first round game.
The team responded by playing like they had nothing to lose. And it worked.
The Indians gave the Cardinals a run for their money that they certainly weren’t expecting, but not without early adversity. The Cardinals jumped out to an early lead and were up 31-23 at halftime, leading by double digits for stretches of the first half. Once again, Osky was having a difficult time containing 6’5″ senior Cardinal forward Cole Plowman along with senior guard Brody Bauer.
But in the 3rd quarter, the Indians flipped a switch and got back into the game. A late-quarter rally saw the Indians shock the crowd as Waylon Bolibaugh and Max Roach started burying jump shots to tie the game. In the final seconds of the 3rd quarter, it was 43-43; at this point in the previous two meetings between the Cardinals and Indians, the game had already been decided.
The Cardinals responded with a heads-up play in the final seconds to go down the floor quickly and lay in a bucket to take a 45-43 lead heading into the fourth; and unfortunately, while the energy on the Oskaloosa side of the gym was now at a new high, the Cardinals would use that basket as a kick-start to put the game away.
That last basket of the 3rd quarter began a 13-0 run for the Cardinals to go up 56-43 early in the 4th. From there, Newton kept Osky at a safe distance. The Indians were unable to generate another rally to make it a game in the final minutes and their upset bid came up short, 70-56. It was an admirable display of effort for the team in their final game.
The Cardinals (15-6) will be hosting Fairfield in their second round game on Thursday. The Indians (3-19) graduate 3 seniors: Waylon Bolibaugh, Jakob Stek, and Brody Allman.