The Keota boys basketball team got the first round win they needed at the state tournament yesterday, once again beating a team that out sized them.
The Eagles won 56-47 over Easton Valley, controlling the game in the fourth quarter.
Both teams went back and forth in the first quarter, hitting their shots and ending the first tied at 11. In the second quarter, a fast break steal and score led to a 8-0 run by Easton Valley that lasted about 45 seconds. Keota needed to break it up, and Kolton Greiner did that by hitting one of his five three-pointers on the day, and then a last second turn around put back by Zach Mousel took at eight point lead with about a minute to go, and made it a small three point lead for the River Hawks.
At the start of the third, Keota carried the momentum from the end of the half, and quickly took the lead by a small margin, but Easton Valley started finding their groove and getting the ball inside and making shots, getting out to another five point lead, but Greiner with another dagger, hit a three-pointer from another area code to pull within two at the end of three.
In the fourth quarter, Keota was slow and steady, picking apart the 1-3-1 zone of Easton Valley, while in turn, the River Hawks started to rush their shots, and take shots that they were not used to. Keota pounded the ball inside and eventually got into the bonus which let them walk away with the win in the final minute.
Keota head coach Dan Stout said he thought their defense on the 6′5″ Wilhelm of Easton Valley really helped control the game, and that it forced them to take shots they didn’t want.
“I thought our defense inside on the Wilhelm kid was great. Nate played him until he got three fouls, and then Luke took over, and Luke got a charge on him on his first defensive possession, and then just made him miss a lot of inside shots, I think he was 4-23 shooting, and I just thought Luke did a great job defensively, and then he also got the rebounds, and that was our key at halftime, I said, ‘we can’t continue to give them two or three shots down the floor,’ and I thought the fourth quarter we really limited them to one shot,” Stout said. “Then they started bombing away from outside, and we had a hand in their face and they weren’t making them, so I take that as our defensive effort and pressure really came through down the stretch.”
Greiner led the Eagles with 21 and went 5-10 from the three point arc. Luke Lyle had 10 and Zach Mousel had eight. The Eagles had 10 points off the bench to Easton Valley’s zero, and shot 30 percent from the field in the second half, while the River Hawks shot just 18 percent in the second half.
Keota will play again on Thursday, and will play West Lyon who beat Newell-Fonda 73-57. That game will be at 10:30 A.M. and can be heard right here on AM and FM KCII and KCIIradio.com.