Iowa City High stakes its claim to No. 1

Little Hawks rule 4th quarter, down West, 53-40

IOWA CITY — Welcome to No. 1, Little Hawks.

Paige Rocca ignited a fourth-quarter surge with back-to-back 3-point baskets, then Ashley Joens carried Class 5A third-rated Iowa City High home in a 53-40 non-conference girls’ basketball win over No. 2 Iowa City West on Tuesday at City High.

“I was in the locker room (at halftime), and I was really frustrated,” Rocca said. “I had no confidence. I just sat there quietly and prayed.”

Highlights: City High 53, West 40

Then she came out and contributed.

With City High (5-0) trailing 31-29 to open the fourth quarter, Rocca swished a trey to put the Little Hawks in front for good. Then, after Rose Nkumu converted a conventional three-point play, Rocca struck again.

That triggered a 12-0 City run, and the Little Hawks were on their way.

Tuesday’s win came four days after the Little Hawks vanquished current No. 1 Cedar Falls on the road.

“We weren’t happy with the (original) rankings,” Rocca said. “We’ve got to be No. 1 now, don’t we?”

The new rankings come out Thursday.

An Iowa State University signee, Joens scored 17 of her game-high 24 points in the second half. She also grabbed 11 rebounds.

“The last couple games have been a lot of fun, beating good teams,” she said. “The other girls hit some big shots when they were double-teaming me.”

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West Coach B.J. Mayer said, “Our defense played really well for most of the game, then the threes by Rocca really got them going.

“Once they got some confidence, (Joens) said, ‘Let’s go win this,’ and she’s good enough to do that.”

Neither team led by more than six points through the first 3 1/2 quarters.

Boys: Second-quarter surge keys No. 1 West

City led 9-4 midway through the first quarter, then the Women of Troy (4-2) held the Little Hawks without a field goal for 6 1/2 minutes to flip it around.

A 12-1 run put West in front, 16-10, and it was 18-15 at halftime. The Women of Troy held a small lead throughout the third quarter, then City ruled the fourth by a 24-9 count.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to get a win tonight,” City Coach Bill McTaggart said. “I’m proud of them, but I know they can play better.”

Nkumu added 11 points for the Little Hawks.

Logan Cook, a University of Iowa signee, paced West with 14 points. Lauren Zacharias added 10.

The rematch is Jan. 23 at West.

IOWA CITY HIGH 53, IOWA CITY WEST 40

At Iowa City High

IOWA CITY WEST (40): Cailyn Morgan 2-11 3-4 8, Lauren Zacharias 4-7 0-0 10, Logan Cook 5-13 4-4 14, Emma Koch 2-6 1-4 5, Paige Beckner 1-2 0-0 2, Audrey Koch 0-2 0-2 0, Matayia Tellis 0-0 1-2 1, Carrie Callahan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-41 9-16 40.

IOWA CITY HIGH (53): Rose Nkumu 3-7 4-6 11, Ashley Joens 8-16 5-7 24, Ella Cook 1-2 0-0 3, Paige Rocca 2-5 1-2 7, Samantha Greving 2-4 1-2 5, Ayana Lindsey 0-5 0-2 0, Ashley Kuennen 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 17-41 11-19 53.

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Halftime: West 18, City 15. 3-point goals: West 3-15 (Morgan 1-6, Zacharias 2-2, L.Cook 0-3, E.Koch 0-3, Beckner 0-1), City 8-18 (Nkumu 1-4, Joens 3-5, E.Cook 1-1, Rocca 2-4, Lindsey 0-2, Kuennen 1-2). Team fouls: West 18, City 12. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: West 31 (E.Koch 7), City 26 (Joens 11). Assists: West 5 (Zacharias, E.Koch 2), City 6 (Nkumu 3). Steals: West 6 (Zacharias 3), City 6 (Nkumu, Joens 2). Turnovers: West 14, City 10.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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