Prep Basketball

Joens sisters guide No. 1 Iowa City High past Valley in state quarterfinals

Little Hawks dethrone defending champion, 78-62

Iowa City High’s Ashley Joens (10) blocks the path of West Des Moines Valley’s Zoe Young (3) in their Class 5A quarterfinal at the girls’ state  basketball tournament Monday at Wells Fargo Arena. Joens scored 36 points in City’s 78-62 win. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Iowa City High’s Ashley Joens (10) blocks the path of West Des Moines Valley’s Zoe Young (3) in their Class 5A quarterfinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Monday at Wells Fargo Arena. Joens scored 36 points in City’s 78-62 win. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — The math is pretty simple, really.

A pair of Joenses trumps one Young.

Ashley Joens tied a Class 5A state-tournament single-game record with 36 points, little sis Aubrey Joens added 20, and top-ranked Iowa City High dethroned defending-champion West Des Moines Valley, 78-62, in a quarterfinal Monday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

“We left here with a bitter taste in our mouth last year (after a first-round loss),” City Coach Bill McTaggart said. “It was huge to come out here and get the lead right away.

“Now we’ll go home, practice this afternoon and get ready for the next one.”

That comes at 10 a.m. Thursday, when the Little Hawks (24-0) face No. 4 Johnston (21-3) in a semifinal. The Dragons whipped No. 6 Waukee, 73-48, Monday.

An Iowa State signee, Ashley Joens was at her best early, hitting 6 of 7 shots in the first half in staking the Little Hawks to a 47-34 halftime advantage.

Leading 23-21 after a quarter, City scored the first eight points of the second period to gain some breathing room. Ashley Joens hit a 3-pointer, Aubrey Joens turned a steal into a layup, and Aubrey Jones splashed a trey to make it 31-21.

“When we had that run, our confidence really skyrocketed,” said Ashley Joens, who pushed her career total to 2,128 points. “And Aubrey ... when she knocks down a few shots, she really keeps it going.”

The Joens girls combined to hit 7 of 10 shots from distance.

“My teammates gave me the ball when I was feeling hot,” said Aubrey Joens, a sophomore.

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Valley retired at 13-11. The Tigers closed within eight points twice in the third quarter, but City rebuilt the margin to 60-47 by the end of the third quarter.

Zoe Young led Valley with 28 points, but committed seven turnovers. She is a junior and a Maryland commit.

Rose Nkumu and Paige Rocca played their roles to perfection for City High. Nkumu counted five steals, Rocca dished four assists and both scored nine points.

“I have pretty good speed and I’m able to read (opponents’) eyes,” Nkumu said. “We all came ready to play today.”

IOWA CITY HIGH 78, WEST DES MOINES VALLEY 62

Class 5A State Quarterfinal, at Des Moines

WEST DES MOINES VALLEY (62): Libby Helverson 1-3 1-2 3, Zoe Young 12-24 2-3 28, Grace Plummer 5-8 1-4 14, Shea Fuller 1-5 5-8 7, Amber Kettering 3-7 1-2 10, Maggie Hall 0-0 0-0 0, Hayley Chappell 0-0 0-0 0, Grace Hinkle 0-1 0-0 0, Bethany Evans 0-0 0-0 0, Anna Bernhard 0-1 0-0 0, Megan Weis 0-0 0-0 0, Sydney Schoop 0-0 0-0 0, Jasmine Spann 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-49 10-19 62.

IOWA CITY HIGH (78): Rose Nkumu 3-5 2-7 9, Ashley Joens 10-20 13-14 36, Paige Rocca 4-7 0-0 9, Aubrey Joens 7-11 2-2 20, Samantha Greving 0-4 0-2 0, Ayana Lindsey 0-0 0-1 0, Ashley Kuennen 0-0 0-0 0, Ella Cook 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 26-50 17-26 78.

Halftime: City 47, Valley 34. 3-point goals: Valley 8-20 (Young 2-8, Plummer 3-5, Fuller 0-1, Kettering 3-5, Bernhard 0-1), City 9-15 (Nkumu 1-1, Ash. Joens 3-3, Rocca 1-3, Aub. Joens 4-7, Cook 0-1). Team fouls: Valley 22, City 15. Fouled out: Helverson. Rebounds: Valley 25 (Young 7), City 34 (Ash. Joens 10). Assists: Valley 11 (Fuller 4), City 18 (Rocca 4). Steals: Valley 4 (four with 1), City 11 (Nkumu 5). Turnovers: Valley 17, City 11.

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

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