Keota seniors come up shy against Montezuma

Luke Greiner splits two Montezuma defenders as he tries to get to the hoop for an open lay-in. The loss meant it was Greiner's last game as an Eagle, finishing the night with five points and four assists.

Most of the Keota boys’ basketball team is made of seniors, all of which were hoping they’d get a shot at making the State tournament. They came up shy of that goal, coming up short against Montezuma 34-49 on February 20.

    The two teams had met up once prior in the season, with the Braves getting a 30-point win at home. The Eagles had to head to Montezuma again to play the Braves, this time with a third-round District spot on the line. Keota silenced the Braves fans early, as they put together a 10-1 run to open the first three minutes of play. The smaller contingent of purple and gold who’d made the trip helped take away the home court advantage. Montezuma was held to minimal shot attempts, and those they were able to hit were from deep. Keota held a 13-9 advantage heading into quarter two.

    “We were able to hit a couple shots from the three,” Eagles coach Dan Stout said. “Our defense was able to stay on their shooters and we were rebounding well.”

    Montezuma went on a scoring run to open the second, but Keota was right alongside them a duration of the time. The two teams were trading punches back and forth. If one scored the other would respond, and if one turned it over then the other team followed suit. Keota found more success at scoring in the fast-break and free throw lines, while Montezuma was finding some shots to drop in the paint. Keota led with two with only a few ticks left in the half, but a buzzer-beating three by Montezuma changed that and gave the Braves momentum heading into the half.

    “The second quarter was good for both teams, and got really exciting for the fans,” coach Stout said.

    The Braves opened the second half with another short scoring run, which was ended by a big three from Luke Greiner. Not much scoring was to be had after that, as Keota put up just five points, while Montezuma was held to six. Keota couldn’t get as many fast-break opportunities and was unable to get some contested shots to drop in the paint. Still, the Eagles remained within one possession with the fourth quarter to go.

    Montezuma built up a lead in the early going of the final quarter, while giving Keota problems on defense. The Eagles got back to their speedy play midway through the quarter, and slowly began to eat into the deficit. The final couple minutes proved to be some of the most important, as the Braves stretched their lead back out and held on for good.

    “We played really well for 29 minutes. We needed to control the tempo of the game, which I thought we did well,” coach Stout said.

    JD Stout led the Eagles with 18 points, shooting just under 50 percent from the field. He also tacked on two rebounds and two steals. Hunter Wilson had eight points from a made three, three free throws and a layup. Greiner had five points, Jack Eakins had two and Logan Sieren completed the scoring with one point. Greiner had a team-high four assists and Eakins pulled down seven rebounds in the loss.

    The Eagles finished their season 15-7, and will look to rebuild as they lose much of their roster for next year due to graduation.