LEON — One night after Interstate 35 picked up a key overtime win at Nodaway Valley to stay unbeaten in Pride of Iowa Conference play, the Roadrunners found themselves in a similar situation here Saturday against Central Decatur.
Just the night before, the Roadrunners surrendered a late lead and had to battle back to force overtime in a 50-46 win over the Wolverines.
Saturday, the Roadrunners trailed by as many as 16, but found themselves down just one late in a 45-38 loss to the Cardinals.
“We’d kind of been in that situation last night,” Interstate 35 head coach Jamie Smith said. “I don’t think we got rattled at that time. We just missed a few shots and they made some shots.
“We fought. I want to make sure the girls understand that. You get down 16 on the road playing back-to-back nights, a lot of teams are going to cash in. I thought we fought through it.”
Lydia Martin scored the first nine points of the game for Central Decatur as the Cardinals bolted to a 25-9 lead midway through the second quarter. The margin stood at 27-16 at halftime.
But the Roadrunners came storming back in the second half, going on a 14-5 run to open the third quarter.
Interstate 35 had the lead cut to one point twice in the final 4:00 of the game, but couldn’t get over the hump.
After missing the front ends of two one-and-ones, the Cardinals were able to finally put the game away at the free throw line thanks to 3-of-4 shooting combined by Martin and Hallie Linhart in the final :30.
The win not only avenged Central Decatur’s lone conference loss of the season, but also pulled the Cardinals into a first-place tie with the Roadrunners.
“That was our goal at the beginning of the night,” Central Decatur head coach Curtis Boothe said. “We knew we were going to have to play well since they handled us up there in the second half the first time. I thought we had a good game plan going in and I thought the girls executed all the way through.”
One of the keys to the win, Boothe said, was limiting the damage done by Roadrunner freshmen Slye Richardson and Gracey Griglione.
Richardson knocked down five 3-pointers in the first meeting between the two teams, but was held to just two this time for eight points total. Griglione was held to seven points.
“They have two really good freshmen that can score and we let Slye get five threes on us up there,” Boothe said. “We weren’t going to let that happen again. Gracey is one of the better players in the conference — left-handed, tall and can take you outside. So we had our best defenders on those two and I thought we did a good job the whole night.”
Senior Charlie Rupp led the Roadrunners with 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds with four assists and four steals. Freshman Riley Morris recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Linhart led Central Decatur with 15 points and nine rebounds to go with five assists and three steals. Martin scored 10 points. Raegan Boothe and Kate Havens each added five points.
Central Decatur improved to 10-2 for the season, while the Roadrunners fell to 10-4, snapping a 10-game winning streak.