No. 10 Comets clinch HOIC title against Hawks

Grubb scores 18 in loss, SH finishes fifth in conference

Hawks’ forward Marla Grubb (33) scores on a floater from the baseline against North Polk. Grubb scored 18 points in the HOIC contest. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

ALLEMAN — Tenth-ranked (Class 3A) North Polk comes at you in waves with athletes and shooters that are dangerous from all areas of the court.

And South Hamilton simply couldn’t match up Friday night.

The Hawks saw their three-game winning streak come to a halt at the hands of the Comets, 62-31. North Polk (18-3, 12-2 HOIC) clinched a share of the Heart of Iowa Conference title alongside fellow 3A powers No. 6 Roland-Story and No. 8 Nevada, while the Hawks (8-13, 6-8 HOIC) closed out a successful league journey by their standards in fifth place.

“This team is ranked for a reason. They’re very good,” South Hamilton head coach Mark Henderson said of the Comets. “They shoot the ball well, they’ve got athletes, they’re tall and long, and there really isn’t a player on their team that you don’t have to guard. They’re just a tough match-up all around and, yeah, they’re another 3A ranked team.

“It didn’t go how we wanted, but we had a good conference season. We ended up fifth in the conference and won six games, so that’s something to be proud of.”

South Hamilton forward Breanne Diersen (11) contests the shot of North Polk’s Maggie Phipps (32) during the first half on Friday in Alleman. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Maggie Phipps (18 points), Jaedon Murphy (15 points) and Katie Brown (14 points) all scored in double figures for North Polk, which controlled play at both ends of the floor from the opening tip. It was 17-8 in the Comets favor after one quarter and 34-15 at the half. The margin ballooned to 30 points in the fourth quarter.

A traditional 3-point play by Murphy on a drive to the bucket, followed by back-to-back bombs from behind the arc by Brown gave North Polk a 10-point lead, 14-4, just 51⁄2 minutes into the contest.

Marla Grubb scored six first-quarter points to keep South Hamilton within eight and the senior forward poured in a team-high 18 to go along with eight rebounds on the night.

But Henderson said his team’s tentative play in the opening quarter set the tone for the rest of the game.

“They came out more aggressive than us,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot of energy at the start … we didn’t compete for a little while and dug ourselves a huge hole. But it was better in the second half.”

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Murphy, Brown and Phipps accounted for 29 of North Polk’s 33 first-half sum.

Breanne Diersen notched four of her six points in the first half for South Hamilton. Rylee Woodall drained a fourth-quarter triple and added four points. Sydney Friest was limited to just one point, but collected seven rebounds, and Anna Moss registered six assists and two steals.

North Polk 62, South Hamilton 31

Friday at Alleman

South Hamilton (8-13, 6-8 HOIC) — Kelsey Hildreth 0 0-0 0, Rylee Woodall 1 1-2 4, Anna Moss 0 0-2 0, Breanne Diersen 3 0-0 6, Taylor Volkmann 0 0-0 0, Aneesa Balderas 0 0-0 0, Emma Lewis 0 2-2 2, Taylor Ratzke 0 0-0 0, Marla Grubb 9 0-0 18, Sydney Friest 0 1-2 1, Cortney Harris 0 0-2 0, Kenady Campbell 0 0-0 0, Krista Swenson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 4-10 31.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

North Polk (18-3, 12-2 HOIC) — Becca Ley 1 0-0 2, Katie Scott 1 0-0 3, Danielle Bonewitz 1 0-0 2, Katie Brown 5 2-2 14, Jaedon Murphy 6 3-5 15, Hannah Foster 1 0-0 2, Maggie Phipps 8 1-1 18, Maddie Bruggeman 3 0-0 6. Totals: 26 6-8 62.

S. Hamilton 8 7 6 10 — 31

North Polk 17 17 14 14 — 62

3-point field goals — SH 1 (Woodall); NP 4 (Brown 2, Scott, Phipps). Rebounds — SH 30 (Grubb 8, Friest 7). Steals — SH 7 (Moss 2, Grubb 2). Assists — SH 8 (Moss 6). Team fouls — SH 6, NP 9. Fouled out — none.