Girls Basketball Notebook: What a Week for City High

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

What a week for the City High girls basketball team.

To be totally accurate it was an eight-day span that saw the Little Hawks win four games, including wins over the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams.

Regardless of the duration of time City High (7-0) is back on top of the Class 5A rankings and after an impressing four-game string in which the Little Hawks average margin of victory was 28 points.

“It’s been really exciting,” City High sophomore Paige Rocca said. “We’ve been working our butts off in practice preparing for this, we really wanted this.”

The stretch started with back-to-back wins over top-ranked Cedar Falls and No. 2 West High and ended with blowouts of Dubuque Senior and Muscatine last Friday and Saturday.

“It is really a huge momentum boost,” City High senior Ashley Joens said. “Getting two wins in a row like that just gives you energy.”

City High jumped past West High and Cedar Falls and into the top spot in the Class 5A rankings released last Thursday.

The Little Hawks have looked every bit like a top-ranked team so far.

Led by Joens who leads the state in scoring at 27.1 points per game City High is averaging 71.9 points per game as a team which ranks fifth in the state and is tops in 5A.

Meanwhile, City High has allowed more than 50 points twice in seven games and is holding opponents to 40.3 points per game.

“Our defense creates turnovers and that’s our offense,” City High coach Bill McTaggart said. “Our ball movement the first half against Cedar Falls was very poor and against West the first half was like deja vu but when our defense picks up it gets our offense going.”

The last three wins for City High have come without sophomore standout Aubrey Joens, who has sat with a knee injury.

In her absence sophomore Paige Rocca has averaged 11 points and is 12-of-17 from the floor and 5-8 from 3-point range since the fourth quarter of the win over West High.

“A lot of it is confidence,” Rocca said. “I didn’t have confidence in the first half (against West) but after I hit a shot that just was a boost to my confidence.”

City High travels to Cedar Rapids Jefferson on Tuesday and hosts United Township, Illinois on Friday to close out the 2017 portion of its schedule.

Regina Relying on Defense

Over the past few seasons Regina has gained a reputation as team capable of putting up piles of points.

It has been the Regals’ ability to limit opponents scoring that has stood out so far this season.

Regina (6-2) is holding opponents to 38.8 points per game and is allowing just 35.3 points in River Valley Conference play.

In two wins last week Regina held a pair of conference contenders better than 17 points below their season average holding Monticello to 33 points and West Branch to 36.

 “We get a lot of notoriety for our offense but it’s really our defense that has been keeping us in games,” Wallace said. “They were averaging 54 a game and we held them to 36 and we held Monticello to 33. We are just making adjustments based on how the game is going and trying to make it tough on people.”

Liberty High Gets First Back-to-Back Wins

It’s a season full of first for the Liberty High girls program and head coach Jamie Brandt.

The Lightning added another first to the list with the best week in young history of the program last week.

Liberty High won back-to-back games for the first time with a 53-42 win over Williamsburg and a 62-33 rout of Fort Madison.  

Performances of the Week

West Branch senior Tatum Koenig had 27 points, six assists and four rebounds in a 73-68 loss to Cascade.

City High senior Ashley Joens had 28 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and four steals in a 72-26 win over Muscatine.

Clear Creek Amana sophomore Karsyn Stratton had 23 points and 13 rebounds in a 49-42 win over Vinton-Shellsburg.

Liberty High sophomore Cora Saunders had 15 points on 5-of-6 3-point shooting in a 61-33 win over Fort Madison.

West High freshman Matayia Tellis had 10 points four steals and three assists in a 68-36 win over Waterloo East.