Rams split in HOIAC hoops season opener

The Greene County Rams opened the Heart of Iowa 2017-18 hoops campaign in Jefferson Friday with a loss for the girls and win for the boys against the Gilbert Tigers.

The girls played the first game of the varsity twin bill, part of a Mega Night with boys and girls freshmen and junior varsity teams also playing.

The girls lost 50-34. The led 10-9 after the first quarter, but fell behind 12-15 early in the second quarter and never caught up. The margin was only five points at halftime, 23-18 in favor of the Tigers, but the Rams played the first four minutes of the second half without scoring. The Tigers were ahead 38-23 after three quarters on their way to the final score.

The Rams seemed a big sluggish compared to the Tigers. The Rams had more turnovers, many of which the Tigers were able to take advantage of with scores. The Rams hit the backboard often enough but the shots didn’t find the rim.

Senior Laurin Lyons led the Rams in scoring with 14 points. She was eight for 10 at the free throw line and made two 3-point shots. Senior Onica Delp scored seven points and was one for two at the line, while senior Samantha Hardaway made five points and was three for four at the line. Sophomore Bailey Cunningham scored six points off the bench, and senior starter Regan Lamoureux scored two points.

The girls are now 2-1 overall and 0-1 in the HIOAC, while Gilbert is 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference.

The Ram boys picked up where they ended last season, even without 2017 graduate Trey Tucker, who lead Class 3A in scoring much of the 2016-17 season.

As most Ram fans predicted, junior Trey Hinote led the team, with a lot of help from returning varsity starters senior Wade Adcock and junior Lance Hughes. Seniors Jordan Patterson and Joe Towers, who was a key player for the Paton-Churdan Rockets until moving into the Greene County district over the summer, filled out the starting lineup. Senior Ben Bravard and sophomore Carter Morton were the sixth and seventh players, with senior Ben Wilkins being the only other player to come in off the bench.

Hinote put up the first points of the game on his first 3-poin shot about one minute into the game. The Rams were up 11-0 before the Tigers put up a 3-point shot with 2:33 to play in the quarter. Those first 11 included five from Hinote, four from Adcock, and two from Hughes. The first quarter ended with the Rams ahead 15-5.

The Rams’ 10-point lead held for the second quarter, even with as Gilbert 3-pointer in the last minute of the half. The score at halftime was 32-22. Throughout the first half the Rams set the pace for the game. Many of the Tigers’ shots were close but just didn’t drop.

The Tigers came out of the locker room strong and quickly trimmed the Rams’ lead to five points, 32-27, in the first two minutes of the half. The Rams prevailed and were ahead 47-33 after the third quarter.

Midway through the fourth quarter the Rams, who had pushed a faster pace than the Tigers throughout the game, appeared more tired than the visitors. They were ahead 55-48 when Ram coach Chris Nelson called a time-out. They came back with more spark and rebuilt their lead to 10 with three minutes to play.

However, the Tigers put up five unanswered points and the margin was only five points with two minutes to play, 58-53. Basketball fans know how quickly a five point lead can evaporate. The Rams scored seven points in the last two minutes, with five of them from the free throw line. The Rams were up 65-58 with less than two seconds to play on Gilbert’s end of the floor. Hinote was guarding the ball handler and let down for just long enough to let put up a close shot to shorten the final margin to five points, 65-60.

Hinote scored 24 points with four 3-point shots and four of four shooting from the free throw line. Adcock finished the game with 13 points and was one of three from the line. Hughes had seven points with one 3-pointer and five of seven free throw shooting, while Patterson added four points with a 3 and one for two free throw shooting. Morton was zero for two at the free throw line but scored a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, and Bravard scored two points.

The Rams are 1-0 overall and in the conference. It was the second loss for the Tigers, as they started the season with a non-conference loss to Pella.

The Ram teams play Saydel on the road next, but the girls game is Tuesday, Dec. 5, and the boys don’t play until Thursday, Dec. 7.

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