KEOSAUQUA — Both Warrior teams made it hard on West Burlington on Tuesday night, but neither could pull the upset. The Van Buren County girls fell 53-42 against the ninth-ranked (3A) Falcons, and the boys faltered 73-50.
The Van Buren girls showed they wouldn’t back down from the undefeated West Burlington squad in the first half. The Warriors took a 14-8 lead after the first quarter, and held a 28-16 advantage at the half. Isabel Manning scored 10 of those points, and Ella Jirak knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the second period to spark a big Warrior run.
But when the teams retreated to the locker rooms for halftime, everything changed.
The West Burlington girls exploded in the third quarter, winning it 17-2 to take a 33-30 lead, and all the momentum, into the fourth.
West Burlington was able to stretch their advantage to double-digits early in the fourth. Van Buren stayed in the game, but could never retake the lead.
“I was proud of them the whole game,” said Warrior girls basketball coach Matt Zeitler. “We could have gotten buried by 30, and a lot of kids would have dropped their heads, but they fought.”
Manning finished the night with 16 points to lead the Van Buren girls. Zoe Best scored nine. Jirak finished with six. Ivy Davidson had five. Kadence Nausbaum scored four, and Jaelyn Boley had two.
The Van Buren boys put together a strong first half as well. The game was tied 13-13 after one quarter and 27-27 at halftime, but West Burlington dominated used its size advantage to dominate the second half.
“It’s not just their size,” said Van Buren boys coach Fred Parsons. “It’s the fact they are experienced, physically they are mature kids, and they are savvy about the game.”
Jackson Manning paced the Van Buren boys with 20 points. Lane Davis scored nine. Owen Loeffler had eight. Wyatt Mertens had five. Anthony Duncan scored three, and Braydon McDonough finished with two.
The Van Buren girls are 5-3 overall and 5-2 in conference play. The boys are 0-7 overall and 0-6 in the conference. Both teams will travel to Danville on Friday.