Mclouth At halftime, Oskaloosa boys basketball coach Scott Whaley convinced his players they could make a free throw.
The Bears were awful from the stripe in the first half, and his team entered locker room down by seven. But Oskie came alive from everywhere in the second half, pulling out a 61-47 victory over McLouth.
"Our coaches got on us a bit," Oskaloosa guard Joe Crawford said. "He told us to bend our knees and focus and release and not throw it up."
Whaley's message was not lost on Crawford, who missed all four of his free-throw attempts in the first half but went 2-for-3 in the second half on his way to 16 points.
The Bears shot 4-for-17 in the first half as they were outplayed by McLouth, which attacked with a full-court press.
But Oskie broke the press in the second half by feeding forward Cody Heston, who had an easy 11 points in the second half against an undersized McLouth defense.
"They did such a good job of pressing us we couldn't get past the press," Whaley said. "We knew Cody was a lot taller than any of their guys so if we could just it him, we'd have an advantage."
Heston and Oskaloosa's free-throw shooting was half the problem for McLouth, which seemingly had the game in its control at halftime.
McLouth coach Chad Brown said he reminded his team to keep its composure during the second half, but instead it looked flustered as it took an assortment of airballs and poor shots in a desperate attempt to catch up. Brown said bad shooting decisions made it impossible for his team to regain its composure.
"The second half, it's a young team, young mistakes," Brown said. "We all want to try and make that bucket to get us back in the game instead of coming down, running a little time and getting the best shot possible."
Oskaloosa girls 82, McLouth 41
Opening the game with a 21-0 advantage was all the Oskaloosa girls needed to break a two-game losing streak. Lady Bears forward Whitney McGinnis scored six points in the opening 45 seconds on her way to a career high of 27.