Originally published on The Okaloosa Herald website by BURDELL HENSLEY, Herald correspondent

EDDYVILLE — It was a highly anticipated matchup between the South Central Conference champion Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Rockets and the South Iowa Cedar League runner-up North Mahaska Warhawks in Eddyville Monday night. The Mahaska County rivalry goes back to the old Des Moines River Conference days and many of the old-timers were in the house.

A huge crowd gathered to cheer on their favorites and they were treated to a high level of fast break basketball and some outstanding shooting from behind the arc by both teams. But in the end, it was the ability of the Rockets to play above the rim that made the difference in an 89-77 victory.

The Warhawks fired the first salvo with an 18-7 run in the first five and one-half minutes of play behind the dead-eye shooting of Lane Harmon, Ethan Huffman and Nash Smith. The Rockets answered with the inside play of Ethan Davis and Lute Judy to cut the deficit to 24-18 after eight minutes of play. At that point, the fans and players realized that they were in for a fun night of up and down the court basketball.

The Rockets had taken a near knockout punch from the Warhawks and as the second stanza opened, EBF was poised to deliver a punch as well. That punch was a 17-2 run to put the Rockets up by a 33-26 score three and one-half minutes before intermission.

Ethan Davis started the run with a pair of free throws and later added a three-point bomb. Brooks Moore drove the baseline for two and finished the run with a rim-rattling slam and Jesse Cornelison notched a pair of free throws and drive through the heart of the defense. Kyle Davis put a rebound back for two and Carsen Wade scored on a breakaway for the remaining points.

Sean Knockel momentarily stopped the bleeding with a pair of inside buckets and a pair of free throws. But the band-aid was not quite big enough as Moore pounded home three inside buckets and Ethan Davis drained another three ball to send the Rockets into halftime with a 42-33 lead.

The two teams continued at a furious pace in the third period with the Rockets holding a 23-21 edge in the quarter and a 65-54 lead heading into the final frame. Ethan Davis opened the second half by getting out on the break and slamming some thunder through the net. Moore canned a pair of long balls, Kyle Davis added a pair of free throws and an inside basket and Karic Stout and Landon Glosser added triples to the Rocket attack.

The North Mahaska third quarter attack featured a pair of threes and a pair of duces from Harmon, a trey and a pair of free throws from Smith and a three and a bucket in the lane by Huffman.

Harmon and Huffman opened the fourth quarter with threes for the Warhawks to cut the Rocket lead to eight, but that would be as close as NM could get. EBF would use a strong inside game by the Davis boys, Kyle and Ethan, and an all over the floor effort by Moore to hold off the Warhawks down the stretch.

The duo of Moore and Ethan Davis rained in 26 and 25 points respectively to lead the Rockets and Kyle Davis chipped in with 13 points. That trio along with Judy pretty much controlled the glass for EBF. 24 points by Harmon and 18 by Smith led the Warhawks with Huffman and Braden Steel also in double digits with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

“We were not very focused to start the game,” EBF coach Travis Stout said. “We had to many turnovers and were not sharp on defense. Once we got the 1-3-1 defense figured out, we began to climb back into the game. Then when our focus improved, the transition game got the lead for us. The big thing is that we were able to answer their runs.

“North Mahaska is a talented team and we had to work hard to keep the lead. I have a ton of respect for them and I love their kids. Several of them play on our summer team and they are good kids.”

North Mahaska   24           9             21           23           -              77

EBF                        16           26           23           24           -              89

North Mahaska scoring (FG FTM/FTA PTS) – Lane Harmon 9 1/1 24, Ethan Huffman 5 0/0 13, Sean Knockel 2 4/6 8, Nolan Anderson 1 2/2 4, Branden Steel 2 6/8 10, Nash Smith 6 3/4 18. Team 25 16/21 77. Three-point goals (11) – Harmon 5, Huffman 3, Smith 3.

EBF scoring (FG FTM/FTA PTS) – Jesse Cornelison 1 2/2 4, Brooks Moore 11 3/3 26, Kyle Davis 6 1/4 13, Landon Glosser 1 0/0 3, Ethan Davis 10 2/2 25, Karic Stout 2 0/0 6, Carsen Wade 2 0/2 6, Lute Judy 3 0/0 6. Team 36 8/13 89. Three-point goals (9) – E. Davis 3, Stout 2. Moore 2, Glosser 1, Wade 1.

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Courtesy of The Okaloosa Herald

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