Early run, balance lifts SH girls to 19-point win

South Hamilton junior guard Brookelyn George (14) is hacked on a drive to the basket during a 40-21 win over Greene County on Friday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

JEWELL — Mark Henderson readily admits that, a year ago, he centered his offense too much around one player. It’s something he intended to rectify this season.

So far the results are positive.

With a free-flowing offense that allows guards to be aggressive and forwards to attack the rim, the South Hamilton girls’ basketball team has introduced a more balanced scheme and it paid dividends on Friday in a 40-21 thumping of Heart of Iowa Conference rival Greene County on Coach Jim Marsh Court.

Sydney Friest was the only Hawk in double figures with 13 points and five others notched at least four points to propel South Hamilton to its second victory in three outings.

A season ago, Henderson, the Hawks’ head coach, pushed Marla Grubb into the focal role on offense. Grubb had a standout season, but at times Henderson says things grew stagnant. But that hasn’t been the case so far this season.

Aneesa Balderas (20) lets a jumper fly from just inside the arc against Greene County on Friday. She came off the bench and scored six points in a 40-21 win. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“I really wanted this to be a more well-balanced team and I think it’s already showing,” Henderson said.

Friest, who draws the most attention from opposing defenses, may be the biggest beneficiary. When her teammates find the bottom of the bucket, it frees her from the shackles down in the paint.

“(Balance) is a really big thing for us,” Friest said. “We have a lot of people who are good at different things, so no matter what the defense throws at us we’ll have something else to come back with.”

That sharing concept was on display in the third quarter against the Rams (0-3, 0-1 HOIC). South Hamilton (2-1, 1-0 HOIC) went on an 11-0 run with five different players producing points that pushed the lead to 35-8. Friest started the surge with a bucket inside, and Rylee Woodall, Emma Lewis and Hailey Diersen all followed with makes. Brookelyn George capped the run with one of the team’s four 3-point buckets from the right wing.

George came off the bench to notch seven points. Lewis and Woodall added five each, and Diersen chipped in four more.

South Hamilton forward Breanne Diersen (10) battles for an offensive rebound in front of teammate Sydney Friest on Friday in Jewell. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Another 11-0 spurt, this time during the contest’s initial seven minutes, put South Hamilton in the driver’s seat the remainder of the way. The Hawks led 11-3 after one quarter and 24-6 at the intermission against a young Rams’ team.

Greene County’s lone bucket of the first period came with 35 seconds remaining.

“They have a lot of new players this year and they’re going through a coaching change, and we know about that and it takes a while,” Henderson said. “It was good to see our girls take care of business right from the start and do the little things. To start the game, we boxed out well and defended well.”

Aneesa Balderas, a reserve guard, gave the Hawks quality minutes at both ends of the floor in the opening half. She hounded Greene County’s guards and came up with a couple steals, and at the other end she rained in a pair of 3-pointers for all six of her points.

“(Balderas) is a great person to have out there,” Henderson said. “She’s a great leader and she has a lot of basketball knowledge. She’s a junior and she’s not one of our captains, but she could be.”

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Hailey Diersen paced the Hawks on the glass with seven rebounds. Older sister Breanne and Friest both came down with six. South Hamilton also collected 15 steals, five by Breanne Diersen and four by Woodall.

Bailey Cunningham led Greene County with seven points.

South Hamilton 40, Greene Cty 21

Friday at Jewell

Greene County (0-3, 0-1 HOIC) — Brianna Habben 1 0-0 2, Izzy Bravard 0 0-0 0, Brianna Osterson 0 0-0 0, Makala Kafer 1 0-0 3, Lily Muir 0 0-0 0, Kassie Lamoureux 1 0-0 2, Bailey Cunningham 2 1-2 7, Madison Hayes 0 2-2 2, Victoria Peterson 0 0-0 0, Sadie Wilson 2 0-0 5. Totals: 7 3-4 21.

South Hamilton (2-1, 1-0 HOIC) — Kelsey Hildreth 0 0-1 0, Rylee Woodall 1 2-2 5, Emma Lewis 3 0-0 6, Breanne Diersen 0 0-0 0, Abby Ervin 0 0-0 0, Brookelyn George 2 2-2 7, Aneesa Balderas 2 0-0 6, Kylee Gunderson 0 0-0 0, Hailey Diersen 2 0-0 4, Kaylee Oskvig 0 0-0 0, Sydney Friest 5 3-5 13, Krista Swenson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 7-10 40.

Greene Cty 3 3 4 11 — 21

S. Hamilton 11 13 13 3 — 40

3-point field goals — GC 4 (Cunningham 2, Kafer, Wilson); SH 4 (Balderas 2, George, Woodall). Rebounds — SH 39 (H. Diersen 7, Friest 6, B. Diersen 6). Steals — SH 15 (B. Diersen 5, Woodall 4). Assists — SH 7 (Woodall 2, B. Diersen 2, Swenson 2). Turnovers — SH 14. Team fouls — GC 12, SH 8. Fouled out — none.