Prep Basketball

Ashley Joens, No. 1 Iowa City High girls' basketball bring unbeaten mark to state

35 points, 15 rebounds for Iowa State signee as Little Hawks defeat No. 13 Bettendorf, 65-40, in Class 5A regional final

Iowa City High Little Hawks
Iowa City High Little Hawks

IOWA CITY — The state’s best player gets the chance to prove she has the best team.

Iowa City High senior Ashley Joens scored 35 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as the top-ranked Little Hawks pulled away from No. 13 Bettendorf, 65-40, in a Class 5A girls’ basketball regional final Tuesday night at City High.

“I just go out and play and my teammates know how to get me the ball when they can,” said Joens, an Iowa State signee who is the presumptive favorite for the Miss Iowa Basketball 2018 award. “If I can’t get it, they’ll knock down big shots.”

City High (23-0) will bring an undefeated record and the top seed into the Class 5A girls’ basketball state tournament, which starts Monday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

“We like being No. 1,” sophomore guard Paige Rocca said. “We fought for it the whole season and now we just want to keep it there.”

City High won its lone girls’ basketball state championship in 2008. This is the second year in a row that the Little Hawks have qualified for the state tournament. Last season, City High lost in the first round by two points to eventual state runner-up Cedar Falls.

“Any kind of loss at all, especially one at state, is a big motivation,” Joens said. “We just want to keep getting better than we were the year before and get further than we were the year before as well.”

Bettendorf (17-6) gave the Little Hawks a rare four-quarter game. After a 22-point opening quarter, City High was limited to just seven points in the second and led 29-16 at halftime.

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“I thought we were a little tense in the first half,” City High Coach Bill McTaggart said. “A little tight. I was pleased that we passed the ball a lot better in the second half.”

The Bulldogs were as close as 11 points late in the third quarter at 39-28, but City High solidified its state berth with a 26-12 closing surge.

“It’s nice to have that preparation because you know all the teams at state are going to be playing their hardest and give us their best shot,” said sophomore guard Rose Nkumu, who scored 12 points and added four rebounds. “We’re going to want to give them our best shot. To play this kind of game and have this kind of environment right before state gives us a head start.”

City High sophomore guard Aubrey Joens scored nine points on three 3-pointers.

Junior Kylie Wroblewski led Bettendorf with 16 points and nine rebounds.

 

CLASS 5A REGIONAL FINAL

At Iowa City High

No. 1 Iowa City High 65, No. 13 Bettendorf 40

BETTENDORF (40): Allie Brownson 2 0-0 5, Emily Ivory 2 0-0 6, Grace Erpelding 1 0-0 3, Erin Hatch 3 0-0 8, Jordan Ratigan 1 0-2 2, Kylie Wroblewski 8 0-2 16, Emilie Gist 0 0-0 0, Totals 17 0-4 40.

IOWA CITY HIGH (65): Rose Nkumu 4 3-3 12, Ayana Lindsey 1 1-1 3, Ashley Joens 13 7-10 35, Ella Cook 0 0-0 0, Paige Rocca 1 2-4 4, Aubrey Joens 3 0-0 9, Sam Greving 1 0-0 2, Totals 23 13-18 65.

Bettendorf 11 5 14 10—40

Iowa City High 22 7 19 17—65

Halftime — City High, 29-16. Three-point goals — Bettendorf 6 (Hatch 2, Ivory 2, Brownson 1, Erpelding 1), City High 6 (Au. Joens 3, As. Joens 2, Nkumu 1). Rebounds — Bettendorf 21 (Wroblewski 9), City High 26 (As. Joens 15). Assists — Bettendorf 8 (Erpelding 3), City High 5 (Nkumu 2). Total fouls — Bettendorf 9, City High 15. Fouled out — None.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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