ELDRIDGE — With the score tied early in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game, Iowa City High was going to make anyone other than North Scott’s Ty Anderson, who had 21 points up to that point, beat them.
So the next two times the 6-foot-7 Anderson touched the ball in the post, three Little Hawk defenders collapsed on him. And both times, Anderson kicked it out to an open shooter. Landon Eiland and Sam Kilburg buried 3-pointers to give the Lancers a six-point lead.
North Scott never trailed again and went on to a 63-57 season-opening win at The Pit.
“Ty is a big-time player, and we know he’s going to draw a lot of attention, especially in a game like this where he’s getting to the rim and he’s finishing at will,” Kilburg said. “We noticed that they were starting to bring more guys at him. Ty’s an unselfish player, and when he can make decisions like that, it’s big for our team. We’re getting open looks all based off of Ty’s production at the offensive end. That was a turning point.”
Anderson finished with a double-double of 27 points and 13 rebounds. Kilburg went 4-for-6 from beyond the arc and added 18 big points, including several 3-point daggers in the second half.
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With North Scott trailing 43-38 late in the third quarter, he hit back-to-back 3-pointers on passes from younger brother Cole Kilburg. Then Sam Kilburg found his younger brother in the corner for a 3-pointer that gave the Lancers a 47-46 lead heading into the fourth.
The Little Hawks, who went 11-for-26 from beyond the 3-point arc in the contest, opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to regain the lead, but Anderson scored to tie the game. Then, on the next two possessions, Anderson found his teammates for key 3-pointers.
“For three years now, Ty has been making the right reads, and he did that again tonight by seeing when the double was coming and kicking,” North Scott head coach Shamus Budde said. “I thought Ty made some nice reads. Our guys did a nice job of finding him. Once Ty made that extra pass, it opened up the floor for us.”
Once the Lancers took that six-point lead, they buckled down on the defensive end to hold off the Little Hawks.
“We weren’t playing our usual defense,” Kilburg said of the first three quarters. “We weren’t really solid and we weren’t really tough. In the fourth quarter, we decided to man up in a way. We decided to keep guys in front of us and finish plays. We toughened up a bit in that fourth quarter.”
Eiland added 15 points for North Scott, a squad that has several key veterans returning from last year’s team that finished 23-3 and lost in the Class 4A state semifinals, but also adds several new players to the mix.
“Our guys really buckled down, and they stayed together,” Budde said. “That’s a good sign this early in the year, especially when Iowa City shot it as well as they did. I was really proud of how we stuck together and were able to get stops at crucial times. We’re happy with how we played tonight.”