Substate champs


When the IHS basketball boys entered substate play with an 8-12 record, they said they were hoping to make it into the finals. They did that and more, rolling over Prairie View and Anderson County to win IHS the boys’ substate championship for the first time in 31 years and earning their team a trip to the state tournament.
In their first-round state clash with the No. 1-ranked Andale Indians, the Mustangs ended up falling short, despite working hard in the last quarter to close the gap and losing by only nine points with a final score 56-47.
But postseason accomplishment still felt good.
Junior Adam Peterson talked about what it was like at state: “It was a big, big stadium with a lot of people. It was an exhilarating experience that provided our team with a plethora of energy that allowed us to play at our peak performance.”
“I think we played pretty well,” junior Travis Hermstein added. “Everyone thought that we would lose by a whole lot, but we only lost by nine points. We were making a run in the fourth quarter, but we didn’t have enough time to get back into it.”
Senior Bryan Mueller said, “We could’ve played better defense, and we needed to make more of our shots. I think we did pretty good, though; it just wasn’t enough.”
The IHS boys’ basketball team hadn’t gone to state since the 1982-1983 season. This year’s boys were proud of making history in the lead-up to the big appearance.
“It feels phenomenal!” senior Adam Kauth said after the back-to-back substate wins. “We had a lot of support at the games. The band, cheerleaders, parents and students were all in attendance. We’re the underdogs at state. We’ve got nothing to lose. We’re going to go out and perform our best.”

The boys worked hard to get ready for the 20-2 top seed.
“We watched Andale film. We’ve been practicing as hard, as usual,” senior Fryendz Wallace said at the time. “We’ve also been trying to find out who their best shooters are so we can keep them locked down.”
Wallace also talked then about how he thought his team would do in Park City: “I think we’ll do pretty well. There’s no pressure to win since we’re the eighth seed, so we’re just gonna play hard and do our best.”

Substate success
In their first-round substate game on March 7 against Prairie View, the Mustangs dominated the court, led by senior Trent Latta and junior Kaden Macha, who each earned 10 points in the 52-40 win.
This advanced them to the substate finals against the Anderson County Bulldogs, an opponent who had bested them before. The March 8 game was close throughout, but the Mustangs pulled away for a 56-46 victory.
“We were down the first half, but we kicked it in the second half and came up with the victory,” Kauth said about his team’s performance.

Mixed season
The boys’ varsity team had its share of ups and downs this season. Plagued by injuries and bad luck, the boys ended up with an overall record of 10-13.
“We needed to spend more time shooting, and we needed to prepare for the game more,” Kauth commented before substate play.
The boys played at Central Heights on Feb. 14, but fell to the Vikings in a tough 22-38 loss. Senior Tyler McIntosh led the team with 6 points, followed by Latta, who had 5.
Three days later, the Mustangs took on Fort Scott at home in a make-up game. It was a very competitive game throughout, but the boys began to trail, and the Tigers came out on top 49-37. Senior Tyler Powelson was on fire, racking up 15 points.
The very next day, the boys played the Prairie View Buffalos at home, coming away with a 52-41 win. Wallace led his team with 14 points.
On Feb. 21, the Mustangs traveled to Wellsville, where the Eagles had only lost one home game and had amassed a total of 17 wins for the season.The Mustangs were going in looking for an upset but didn’t pull it off, losing 45-58. Powelson led the team with 13 that night.
The boys were back at home on Feb. 25, when the crowd was in for a thriller. The game against Anderson County was neck and neck throughout. The boys had the lead, but then got behind and ended up losing to the Bulldogs 66-64. Kauth dominated with 21 points.
Less than a week after playing the Wellsville Eagles on their turf, it was time to play on ours Feb. 27. The boys were looking to redeem themselves in this make-up game after losing in the previous contest against the Eagles. The boys fought hard, but ended up short 45-53. Team scoring was led by Powelson, who had 13 points.
The next week would bring substate. As the boys prepared to travel to Garnett, junior Travis Hermstein quipped: “I think we have a chance to make it to state. We just need to work hard at practice and play our hearts out.”
And the rest is history.