IOWA CITY — First came the rivalry. Now comes the showdown.
Just 19 hours before a highly-anticipated home date with Class 5A No. 2 West Des Moines Dowling, top-ranked Iowa City High had a little business to contend with against crosstown rival Iowa City West.
The Little Hawks look ready.
“It is definitely going to be tough,” City High senior guard Paige Rocca said after the Little Hawks ran past West, 57-32, in a Mississippi Conference girls’ basketball game Friday night at West High School. “That is a really good team. It should be a good game. We won’t be completely fresh, but we are all going to go home and get some sleep.”
City High (14-0, 11-0 MVC) trailed by six points at 16-10 early in the second quarter, but clamped down on defense and limited the Women of Troy to just 16 points the rest of the way.
“That was probably the difference,” City High Coach Bill McTaggart said. “I thought (City High senior guard and Marquette recruit) Rose (Nkumu), which she has done in the last five games, she takes the best players and makes it hard for them to score. She did that again tonight.”
West junior Audrey Koch lead the Women of Troy (8-7, 5-5) with 14 points, but just four in the second half.
Iowa State recruit Aubrey Joens led all scorers with 23 points. Rocca added 11, including three 3-point baskets, the first of which gave her team the lead for good midway through the second quarter.
“It is definitely important,” said Rocca, who will play basketball at Missouri State next season. “Especially when they are guarding Aubrey pretty heavily. Because most people want to shut her down because she is our leading scorer. So once we can get the points spread across the board, then it makes it easier for Aubrey to get her points.”
Nkumu and junior post player Ella Cook each added eight points for City High. The battle for No. 1 against Iowa commit Caitlin Clark and Dowling tips off Saturday at 1 at the City High gym.
“We haven’t even talked about Dowling Catholic,” McTaggart said. “I have watched game tape. Tomorrow morning, we are going to watch game tape and go through a few things. Two decent teams going at one another and they have got arguably one of the best offensive players in the Midwest, if not the country.”
AT IOWA CITY WEST
Class 5A No. 1 Iowa City High 57, Iowa City West 32
I.C. HIGH (57): Rose Nkumu 4 0-0 8, Kelsey Joens 0 1-2 1, Eviyon Richardson 2 0-0 4, Andie Westlake 1 0-0 2, Ella Cook 4 0-2 8, Paige Rocca 4 0-0 11, Aubrey Joens 11 0-0 23, Totals 26 1-4 57.
I.C. WEST (32): Matayia Tellis 3 1-3 8, Cora Saunders 0 0-0 0, Liv Williams 0 0-0 0, Meena Tate 0 1-2 1, Grace Schneider 1 0-0 2, Rylee Goodfellow 0 0-0 0, Jenna Saunders 2 0-0 5, Audrey Koch 5 3-5 14, Anna Prouty 1 0-0 2, Totals 12 5-10 32.
Iowa City High 8 17 20 12—57
Iowa City West 11 7 8 6—32
Three-point goals — City High 4 (Rocca 3, A. Joens 1); West 3 (Koch 1, J. Saunders 1, Tellis 1). Rebounds — City High 23 (A. Joens 6); West 24 (Koch 6). Fouled out — None.