Joens Pours in 32 as City High Cruises Past Prairie in Top-5 Matchup


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports .

CEDAR RAPIDS – Aubrey Joens has put up bigger point totals than she did Friday against Cedar Rapids Prairie.

Just last weekend Joens scored 37 in a road game at West Des Moines Dowling.

The City High junior has never had a more timely scoring outburst than the one she had against the Hawks.

Joens scored 26 of her game-high 32 points in the second and third quarters as Class 5A top-ranked City High blew open a tie game and cruised to a 62-36 win over fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie (16-3, 11-2).   

“My teammates were working to get me the ball, they knew that I was hot,” Joens said. “I think the ball movement was a key and we just took smart shots.”

Joens scored 15 second-quarter points as City High (16-2, 12-1 MVC) turned a 9-9 tie into a nine-point halftime lead.

City High put the game out of reach with a 17-2 run to start the second half that was capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Joens.

The win gave City High sole possession of the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division with two games to play and snapped a 15-game Prairie winning streak that started back on December 7.

“That is a good team, a really good team,” City High coach Bill McTaggart said. “We knew we were going to have to play well and I think that was our best overall game of the year until the last five minutes.”

There was plenty that made Joens’ 32-point performance impressive starting with a 7-of-9 performance from 3-point range.  

What stood out perhaps most about the effort by Joens was the timing.

City High closed last week with back-to-back road losses to ranked teams, its first losses of the season and Friday was the fourth road game against a ranked opponent in the last five games for the Little Hawks.

Playing a road game against a top-five opponent that hadn’t lost in two months and with the MVC divisional lead on the line is the perfect time for the best performance of the year and that is what Joens came up with Friday.  

“Coming into tonight we just needed to pick it up and get some momentum,” Joens said. “Once we were able to do that we kept it going.”

Joens scored the first 10 City High points of the second quarter, putting the Little Hawks up 19-13 with a pair of three points in a 40-second span.

After Paige Rocca made three free throws Joens scored the final five points of the half to give City High a 27-18 halftime lead.

“When you get the momentum like that you know shots are going to go in,” Joens said. “I was confident in my shots and that my teammates would get me the ball.”

The Little Hawks relied on their defense to close out the win.

City High held Prairie scoreless for more than four minutes to open the second half while pushing the lead to 20 points.

“We didn’t do very well the first half on pick and rolls and after halftime we looked like a different team on pick and rolls,” McTaggart said. “We played both the zone and man defense pretty well. We knew their strength was perimeter shooting so we extended our 1-3-1 and we were just talking well on offense.”

City High held Prairie to a season-low scoring total and nearly 18 points below its season average on 36 percent shooting.

“We really focused on our matchups,” City High junior Rose Nkumu said. “I think that was a key for us knowing their strengths and weaknesses.”

City High forced six turnovers in the third quarter, turning several into transition layups while building a 53-25 lead.

Rocca and Ella Cook each had nine points for City High and Cook grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds as City High held a 30-24 rebounding edge.

Freshman Eviyon Richardson had seven rebounds and Joens and Nkumu each had six.

 “I think this was one of our best games rebounding,” Nkumu said. “We have really honed in on that the last couple of days. We’ve always said that we want to improve on rebounding but I think tonight really showed what we are capable of.”

City High        9  18  26  9  –  62

CR Prairie     9   9    7  11 –  36

City High (62) – Rose Nkumu 4-14 0-2 8, Eviyon Richardson 2-7 0-0 4, Ella Cook 4-6 0-0 9, Paige Rocca 3-8 3-3 9, Aubrey Joens 11-18 3-3 32, Totals 24-53 6-8 62.

CR Prairie (36) – Sarah Schmitt 4-12 2-3 12, Sidney McCrea 6-13 0-0 12, Makenna Moenk 0-3 0-0 0, Mallory McDermott 2-9 2-2 6, Rachael Kilpatrick 1-1 0-0 2, Hailey Cooper 1-2 0-0 2, Quinn Deahl 1-2 0-0 2, Totals 15-42 4-5 36.

3-point field goals – ICH 8-18 (Nkumu 0-2, Richardson 0-2, Cook 1-1, Rocca 0-4, Joens 7-9), CRP 2-14 (Schmitt 2-5, McCrea 0-4, Moenk 0-1, McDermott 0-4). Rebounds – ICH 30 (Cook 10), CRP 24 (McCrea 8). Turnovers – ICH 7, CRP 12. Total fouls – ICH 9, CRP 4. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.