Although it was only an eight-point game when Muscatine and North Scott went into their locker rooms for halftime Friday night, and the Muscatine crowd celebrated the induction of eight into the school’s Hall of Fame, there was a sense that the game might turn into a tale of two very different halves.
That’s exactly what happened.
The relatively young Muskie team has struggled in the second half all season while North Scott has flourished after the intermission.
Specifically, it was North Scott senior Tytan Anderson that took control of the game.
Anderson scored 17 third-quarter points as North Scott went on to a 59-38 win over Muscatine. North Scott clinched the outright Mississippi Athletic Conference title with the win.
“I told the team (North Scott) was going to come out upset (after halftime),” Muscatine head coach John Windham said. “They came out and put more (defensive) pressure on us. I think we did a good job of handling the pressure, for the most part.”
It was during halftime when former players Scott Beatty, Emily (Clemens) Wieskamp, Danielle (Frere) Jenkins, Katie Shoultz, Isaac Ales and Erica Henderson, niece of the late Craig Knoll, were inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Ron Kiser and current swimming coach Judd Anderson.
Tytan Anderson, a 6-foot-7 UNI commit, ended up with a game-high 23 points while seeing little court action in the fourth after his efforts gave the Lancers their commanding lead.
“A year ago, Ty couldn’t make a 3-pointer,” North Scott coach Shamus Budde said, “but he’s put a lot of time into it and that’s why he’s a Division I basketball player because he can step out and shoot it.”
But for the Muskies, the first half showed their capabilities while the second showed how far they have to go to compete for a MAC title.
After the opening eight minutes, North Scott (18-1, 14-0) led by only three. The first basket of the second period came when Muscatine junior Noah Yahn swiped an errant North Scott pass and drew a foul going in for a transition layup.
Yahn made both free throws to bring the score to 13-12 in favor of North Scott with 6:58 left before the end of the half.
However, baskets would start to fall more consistently for the Lancers from that point on and conversely became harder for the Muskies (4-15, 3-11).
“We didn’t really change anything at halftime,” Budde said. "We just finally started hitting shots and that was the difference. We got good looks in the first half and good looks in the second half, we just stepped up and knocked them down early in the second.”
Senior Jake Thomas would add a layup off an assist from senior Briggs Miller and two free throws to put a cap on the Muscatine scoring for the second frame.
That’s when Anderson seized control of the game.
The senior scored 11 straight North Scott points in the third. In fact, he was the only North Scott player to record points until the 2:35 mark of the third when senior Sam Kilburg went to the line and drained two free throws for two of his nine points.
Yahn tried to keep the Muskies within reach, but the Lancers’ offense was just too much. The Muskie guard ended with a team-high 15 points, the only player for the home team to reach double figures.
Junior Josh Dieckman had eight and was the Muskies’ second-leading scorer for the night.
“We have to have a consistent third scorer,” Windham said. “Tonight, we had one. We need at least two … in order to be competitive. We had 39 shots, that’s not enough."
Muscatine has two games left in the regular season.
It will travel to Pleasant Valley on Tuesday before playing hosting Davenport Central for senior night next Thursday.
The Muskies were placed in Class 4A Substate 2 and will play at Davenport North on Feb. 24 to start the postseason.