It was 1989 when Keota went to state in boys basketball. It was the first time, and the only time, and now 25 years later they’ve got another team ready to go back next week.
The Eagles had to play a perfect game against a team that was averaging 72.5 points per game, and they simply rewrote the text book on how to do it, winning 53-42.
Van Buren started the game in a triangle and two, putting heavy defensive pressure on Luke Lyle and Kolton Greiner, but there is one guy on the floor they didn’t cover, Nate Owen. Owen shot 20 percent from beyond the three-point arc all season, making just 8-40, but Owen, open for the three stepped up and nailed two to start the game, and Van Buren had to get out of their triangle and two immediately. The Warriors went through five defensive schemes in the first quarter and were down 12-9 at the end of the first.
The Eagles and Warriors battled back and forth throughout the second quarter, with Keota hitting three three’s from Geiner and Lyle, and Van Buren’s Garrett Saunders stepping up for the disappearing Tom Fitzsimmons. Van Buren went up 25-23 at half.
The Eagles came out of the locker-room, and started to fall behind more as Van Buren put them in a nine point hole before Keota called a timeout. The Eagles came out of the timeout, found their groove, and went on a 12-0 run to tie it up at 34-34 after three.
The fourth quarter is where Keota shinned. Van Buren failed to make a shot in the first three minutes, while Keota extended their lead, and adding to their already impressive run, and once the Eagles got into the bonus, they just salted the win away at the line, going 10-16 at the line in the fourth quarter alone to win 53-42.
After the game head coach Dan Stout talked about the big start to the game by Owen.
“Yeah I thought that was huge, Nate has struggled all year long, and his percentage isn’t very good, but I’ll tell you what, he’s a gamer. He came out focus, came out hit those two threes, and then he went down inside and went to work the rest of the game after they switched to man-to-man,” Stout said. “He really played a great game, and really got us going right off the bat, he missed the one right away, and then hit the next two and then got us going. They had to get our of the triangle and two, and I’m very happy for his effort.”
Owen led the game with a double-double and 17 points, Greiner had 16, and Lyle added 12.
Keota does not know who or when they will play do to the games getting postponed Saturday. The pairings should be released tomorrow after tonight’s final sub-state games.