BLAIRSBURG - Colo-NESCO junior guard Shayla Dean is arguably the most disruptive defender in Class 1A, and the statistics back up that claim.
Already the class leader in steals entering Friday's Iowa Star Conference tussle against Northeast Hamilton, Dean piled up nine more thefts and scored a game-high 17 points to power the third-ranked Royals to a 56-18 romp over the Trojets.
"She's just a really, really impressive player for them," NEH head coach Adam Vorrie said of Dean, who has 93 steals on the season - 28 more than anyone else in 1A. "The first time she got a breakaway I could not believe how fast she got that thing down the court. If you're not careful with the ball, she's going to slap it away and she's gone."
DFJ photo by Tracy Runneberg
Northeast Hamilton’s Andi Anderson (front) wrestles for a loose ball with Colo-NESCO’s Kassandra Robinson on Friday in Blairsburg.
Caitlyn Riese poured in 11 points for Colo-NESCO (11-0, 7-0 ISC) and Madison Farren notched eight.
The Royals bolted out to a 22-4 lead after one quarter and led 40-12 at the half.
But pushing the final score aside, Vorrie saw many things to like about his team's performance.
COLO-NESCO ROYALS 56, NEH TROJETS 18
Friday at Blairsburg
Colo-NESCO (11-0, 7-0 ISC) - Leah Vincent 2 0-0 6, Hannah Buseman 2 0-0 4, Madison Farren 3 2-6 8, Shayla Dean 8 0-1 17, Melanie Van Loon 2 0-0 4, Makaelyn Neuendorf 1 1-2 3, Tabitha Halferty 1 1-1 3, Caitlyn Riese 4 3-4 11. Totals: 23 7-14 56.
Northeast Hamilton (0-7, 0-6 ISC) - Kaylee Massman 2 0-0 4, Lillian Chamness 2 0-0 4, Makayla Tapper 1 0-0 2, Andi Anderson 1 0-1 2, Devyn Vankooten 0 0-0 0, Leah Meyer 2 0-0 4, Taylor Olson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 9 0-1 18.
Colo-NESCO22 18 7 9-56
Northeast Hamilton 4 8 4 2-18
3-point goals - C-N 3 (Vincent 2, Dean). Team fouls - C-N 8, NEH 14. Fouled out - none.
"They're excellent, but as far as we were concerned, that was the best game we've played all year," he said. "Some of the things we've been coaching the girls on are starting to click and there was definitely improvement there.
"We're done with the ranked teams for a while, so we'll see what life is like playing teams closer to our level."
Kaylee Massman, Lillian Chamness and Leah Meyer all had four points for the Trojets (0-7, 0-6 ISC).
NEH will be busy this week with three games, beginning Tuesday at Don Bosco. The Trojets will host North Tama on Friday and then travel to Waterloo Christian on Saturday.