Joens Pours in School-record 44 Points as Top-Ranked City High Rolls


Jeff Yoder Photo /

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – Ashley Joens has already stuffed her prep basketball career fuller than a Christmas stocking with accomplishments, accolades and achievements.

Joens added another to her haul on Friday pouring in a school record 44 points to lead top-ranked City High to a 91-56 non-conference rout of United Township (Illinois) at City High.

The single-game record was nice tinsel on an impressive career for Joens but the City High senior is more interested in wrapping a final bow on her career with a state title in March.

“As long as I’m doing it with my team and I can get any kind of accomplishment it means a lot but we are still working toward that one goal though,” Joens said. “That one big one.”

Joens and her City High teammates enter the holiday breaking looking every bit like state title contenders.

City High scored 42 points in the first quarter, shot 60 percent from the field and scored a season-high 91 points on Friday while improving to 9-0.

“Our intensity has been a lot better lately,” Joens said. “Keeping that intensity up throughout the year is going to help us in the long run.”

Joens was the biggest reason for City High’s offensive performance on Friday.

The 5-foot-11 senior scored 24 of her 44 points in the first quarter and didn’t have a point in the fourth.

Joens finished 19-of-26 from the field and was 1-of-2 from 3-point range and 5-of-10 from the free throw line.

“At one point I did look up at the scoreboard,” Joens said. “It felt like I’d had a lot of baskets but I didn’t really know until I looked up at the scoreboard. It’s amazing.”

The 44 points by Joens broke the previous single-game mark of 42 set by older sister Courtney Joens in 2014.

Ashley Joens was a freshman when Courtney Joens poured in 42 on 15 field goal attempts in a 76-59 win at Cedar Rapids Kennedy.

With Courtney Joens who is now a sophomore at Illinois in the stands on Friday, Ashley hit a pair of free throws with 1.5 seconds left in the third quarter to set the new school record.

“When she had 42 and it was tied I thought that would be the best scenario for them,” City High coach Bill McTaggart said. “It played out the way it did but it was a great game by her.”

The scoring record was the only drama left after in the second half thanks to a strong start by the Little Hawks.

City High led 8-0 just 50 seconds into the game and never let up, building a 42-17 first-quarter lead.

“We definitely have been working in practice on coming out with a punch and trying to knock teams down right at the start,” City High sophomore Rose Nkumu said. “In a couple of previous games we’ve been playing down to their level and then we kind of get going but this game I think we did really well with turning up our defense and making the extra pass.”

Nkumu spearheaded a strong defensive effort early as City High used its full court pressure to force the Panthers into 14 first-quarter turnovers.

Many of those turnovers lead direct to easy baskets and helped City High go 17-of-22 from the field in the first quarter.

“That is the key for us is creating turnovers whether it’s half court, three quarters court or full court,” McTaggart said. “We threw a little bit of everything at them.”

Joens made three of her first six field goal attempts but made her next seven, including her only 3-pointer of the game on her way to 24 first-quarter points.

She was 5-of-6 from the field in the second quarter and had 34 points in the first half as City High took a 68-35 lead into the locker room.

Joens scored 10 more points in the third quarter to secure the single-game scoring record and finished with 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double in nine games.

“Having my teammates get me the ball when I was open helped a lot,” Joens said. “They did a great job of finding me.”

Nkumu had 22 points and Paige Rocca added 12 for City High.

United Township was led by Jasmine Bell with 14 points and Ryleigh O’Brien with 11.

“This team is better than what we made them look,” McTaggart said. “They are a good team and we came out and played well from the beginning.

City High                   42  26   21  2  –  91

United Township        17  18   7  14  –  56

City High (91) – Rose Nkumu 8-12 5-6 22, Ayana Lindsey 1-1 0-0 2, Ashley Joens 19-26 5-10 44, Ashley Kuennen 1-2 0-0 3, Virginia Muturi 0-0 0-1 0, CeCe Kelly-Harvey 1-2 0-0 2, Shevonna Norris 0-2 0-0 0, Ella Cook 0-4 0-0 0, Paige Rocca 4-8 2-2 12, Samantha Greving 1-2 4-4 6, Team 35-58 16-23 91.

United Township (56) – Calie Walker 2-4 0-0 6, Madison Meldrum 0-1 1-3 1, Davianna Morgan 0-1 0-0 0, Izabella Sims 3-12 2-3 9, Aubrey Sherrod-Butler 0-1 1-4 1, Ryleigh O’Brien 5-8 1-2 11, Jasmine Bell 5-7 4-5 14, Brandi LaFountaine 3-8 0-0 6, Dareyana Patterson 0-0 1-2 1, Jade Hunter 2-4 3-3 7, Autumn Lage 0-1 0-0 0, Team 20-47 13-22 56.

3-point field goals – ICH 5-9 (Nkumu 1-1, Joens 1-2, Kuennen 1-1, Cook 0-2, Rocca 2-3); UT 3-11 (Walker 2-3, Sims 1-8). Rebounds – ICH 34 (Joens 10); UT 29 (LaFountaine 10). Turnovers – ICH 16; UT 29. Total fouls – ICH 18; UT 18. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.