SULLY — The Lynnville-Sully girls basketball team suffered its only losing streak of the season in mid-December, but was able to recover with two wins in the past two games going into Monday night.
Monday’s game, however, didn’t exactly go according to plan.
The Hawks (8-5, 7-5 South Iowa Cedar League) started slow and couldn’t shake it off, falling to Iowa Valley in a low-scoring 32-17 game to knot up the middle of the conference standings.
“I think we set basketball back 100 years,” Hawks coach Jerry Hulsing joked. “We just didn’t come out very aggressive in the first half, then didn’t do what needed to after that. Iowa Valley was way more aggressive than we were and we had way too many turnovers.”
It was apparent it would be a difficult scoring night for both teams in the first quarter as neither team really found a rhythm offensively in the opening minutes. Hawk juniors Cassie Cullen and Rachel Van Wyk kept L-S afloat with seven points and some tough defense held Iowa Valley to just eight points to keep things close after one quarter.
Cullen opened the second quarter with a bucket for what would be the Hawks’ final lead of the evening, then L-S simply went cold after that. The Tigers shut down the Hawks’ interior game and managed a few baskets in each of the final minutes of the half to take a narrow 14-10 lead into halftime.
“We just didn’t move the basketball,” Hulsing said. “Our posts were there, we just didn’t have our heads up and didn’t move quick enough to make their zone shift. It starts with ball movement to be able to find an open look.”
The Tigers slowly built their lead up early in the third quarter with a few old-fashioned three-point plays and a still struggling Hawk offense. L-S sophomore Shelby Davis scored the team’s first point of the quarter with a free throw at the 4:00 mark and sparked what would be the team’s strongest run of the game.
Cullen and Van Wyk each added another basket down the stretch and the Hawks were able to temporarily shut down the Tigers to shrink the deficit back to 19-15 going into the fourth quarter.
“That was a spurt when we were actually playing basketball,” Hulsing said. “We moved the ball and got some good looks, but then we were hesitant and stuck in first gear. They dictated the tempo, and unfortunately we didn’t have the leadership to say we needed to start playing sooner.”
An early free throw from sophomore Lysandra James would be the Hawks’ second-to-last points of the game as the offensive struggles continued and Iowa Valley began to pull away. Extending their lead to nine points with about three minutes to play, the Tigers effectively shut the Hawks down in the final minutes of the game to prevent a comeback.
“We were fortunate to be in the ballgame at all, because if they hit anything in the first half, we would’ve really been in trouble,” Hulsing said. “Luckily for us, they were a little bit cold and didn’t hit some shots until the end. It could’ve been ugly.”
Cullen actually led all scorers in the game with nine points, whule the Tigers spread their scoring out across seven players. The Hawks will travel to Keota, which they defeated 38-28 on Nov. 30, as part of a girl-boy doubleheader Friday night.
Iowa Valley 32, Lynnville-Sully 17
I — 8 6 5 13 — 32
L — 7 3 5 2 — 17
I — Kriegel 8, Demmel 7, Herrmann 6, Seye 6, Rathjen 2, Smith 2, Kaestner 1
L — Cullen 9, Van Wyk 5, Davis 1, James 1, Van Rees 1