Prep Basketball

Top-ranked Iowa City High girls' basketball clamps down on No. 3 Iowa City West, 79-70

Little Hawks (16-0, 9-0 MVC) begin second half with 11 points in a row

IOWA CITY — For the Iowa City High girls’ basketball team, the play is called, “red.”

Tuesday night at Iowa City West, the call for full-court defensive pressure came from the players in the halftime locker room, and it produced another victory for the Little Hawks.

Senior Ashley Joens scored a game-high 32 points — including the first eight of an 11-0 surge to begin the second half — as Class 5A No. 1 Iowa City High ran past No. 3 West, 79-70, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game.

“It’s always big to get a win against them,” said Joens, an Iowa State signee. “They’ve played really well and they gave us a shot there in the second quarter, but we fought back and got the win.”

West (11-5, 8-1 MVC) trailed by 11 points on four occasions in the first half, but a 16-7 closing burst pulled the Women of Troy even, 32-32, at halftime.

“We had a halftime talk and we started kicking up a notch in the second half and got a couple of turnovers,” sophomore guard Rose Nkumu said. “That really sparked it. After we came out, we wanted to press them and see how they would handle it.”

West did not handle it well. Just 38 seconds into the second half, Joens had the Little Hawks up, 40-32. A Nkumu 3-pointer pushed the advantage to 11, and the Women of Troy would get no closer than five points.

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“That was the difference,” City High Coach Bill McTaggart said. “I think we surprised them on our press. … Very pleased because this is a very good West High team.”

Four Little Hawks scored in double figures. Nkumu posted 18 points, while sophomores Aubrey Joens and Paige Rocca tallied 14 and 13, respectively, as City High remained unbeaten (16-0, 9-0 MVC).

“We just come out every game ready to play, no matter who our competition is,” Aubrey Joens said.

Iowa signee Logan Cook had 26 points and seven rebounds for West, losers of three of four games. Junior forward Emma Koch posted 14 points, while junior guard Lauren Zacharias had 13. Senior forward Paige Beckner pulled down seven rebounds.

“Kind of panicked a little bit, played a lot faster than we wanted to,” West Coach BJ Mayer said. “We had two really rough stretches.”

Ashley Joens led the Little Hawks with 11 rebounds, while four players had two assists.

City High visits Dubuque Hempstead on Friday, while West hosts its second top-two foe this week in second-ranked Cedar Falls.

AT IOWA CITY WEST

No. 1 Iowa City High 79, No. 3 Iowa City West 70

IOWA CITY HIGH (79): Rose Nkumu 6 5-6 18, Ashley Joens 9 12-14 32, Paige Rocca 5 0-0 13, Aubrey Joens 4 2-2 14, Samantha Greving 1 0-2 2, Ella Cook 0 0-0 0, Ayana Lindsey 0 0-0 0, Ashley Kuennen 0 0-0 0, Virginia Muturi 0 0-0 0, Emily Knoche 0 0-0 0, Skye Spencer 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 19-24 79.

IOWA CITY WEST (40): Cailyn Morgan 2 1-2 5, Lauren Zacharias 5 2-3 14, Logan Cook 11 2-3 26, Emma Koch 5 4-4 15, Rachael Saunders 3 0-0 6, Paige Beckner 2 0-0 4, Audrey Koch 0 0-0 0, Matayia Tellis 0 0-0 0, Carrie Callahan 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 9-12 70.

Iowa City West 14 18 14 24—70

Iowa City High 23 9 21 26—79

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Halftime — Tied, 32-32. Three-point goals — City High 10 (Au. Jones 4, Rocca 3, As. Jones 2, Nkumu 1), West 5 (Cook 2, Zacharias 2, E. Koch 1). Rebounds — City High 21 (As. Joens 11), West 24 (Cook 7, Beckner 7). Assists — City High 10 (Nkumu 2, As. Joens 2, Cook 2, Au. Joens 2), West 9 (Morgan 3, Saunders 3). Total fouls — City High 13, West 20. Fouled out — None.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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