KEOSAUQUA — Almost exactly one year to the date of a season-ending loss to Van Buren County, Louisa-Muscatine had revenge in their sights in the final minutes of a Class 2A regional quarterfinal rematch with the Warriors
"We knew they had a dynamic 1-2 punch in Kylee Sanders and Kaylee Corbin," surmised the Warriors head coach Matt Zeitler.
It wasn't Sanders or Corbin, however, that delivered the knockout punch on Tuesday. Isabel Manning extended her incredible four-year high school career at Van Buren County with her 16th double-double, countering the Falcons' 1-2 punch with 20 second-half points including the game-winning jumper from the right baseline that lifted the Warriors to a 46-45 win.
Van Buren got on the board first with a layup off the tip off by Manning, the state's leading scorer in girls' high school basketball. Trailing 4-0, Sanders intercepted a Manning pass and hit a lay-up, followed with another lay-up and a 3-pointer as the Falcons scored 10 straight points.
The Warriors would outscore the Falcons 8-2 on the backs of two 3-pointers by Kadence Nusbaum, tying the score at 12-12 heading into the second period.
The second quarter would see the Falcons of L-M pull out in front of the Warriors. Manning hit a baseline jumper in the closing minutes to pull Van Buren County within 22-18. Drama ensued when the McKenna Hohenadel launched a 28-foot jumper at the buzzer that cut the nets, sending Louisa-Muscatine into the half with a 25-18 lead.
With 10 points in the first half, Manning went to work in the third quarter, opening the quarter with two free throws before closing the quarter with a jumper from the right baseline with four seconds left, notching 12 points in the process. Sanders responded with eight for the Falcons during the third quarter, leaving the two teams tied at 35-35 with eight minutes left to decide the contest.
Ella Jirak opened the decisive final period with a 3-pointer from the top of the key for the Warriors. Trailing 44-40, Manning would take command of the contest with eight straight points, including a jumper from the right baseline that gave Van Buren County a 46-44 lead with 30 seconds remaining.
Sanders would get her chance to answer Manning, drawing a foul from Zoe Best on a drive with 16 seconds left and stepping to the charity stripe with a chance to tie the game.
Sanders, a 53-percent free throw shooter, connected on the first free throw to pull Louisa-Muscatine (9-7) to within one. The second free throw, which would have tied the score, kicked around the rim before falling out. The Warriors grabbed the rebound, called timeout, and was able to inbound the ball twice as Louisa-Muscatine still had a foul to give, allowing the clock to run out sending Van Buren County to the regional semifinal round for the third straight year.
"I thought Kadence did a good job of defending.She created a lot of deflections," assessed Zeitler, "She also hit two very big 3's for us as well."
Manning led all scorers with 30 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Warriors. Sanders led the Falcons in her final high school game with 20 points while Corbin finished with 10.
Van Buren County (15-6) now hosts Iowa City Regina in a Class 2A regional semifinal. Regina edged Mediapolis 54-49 on Tuesday, setting up what could be another postseason thriller on Friday in Keosauqua.
Teams 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Louisa-Muscatine 12 13 10 10 45
Van Buren Co. 12 6 17 11 46