No. 11 Norse pull away from SH girls in 2nd half
R-S outscores Hawks 31-14 over final 11:18
JEWELL — It all turned on South Hamilton so fast.
One minute, the Hawks were grinning and high-fiving one another after a Breanne Diersen 3-pointer from the right wing pulled them within five points of 11th-ranked (Class 3A) Roland-Story just after the midway point of the third quarter on Coach Jim Marsh Court Friday night.
But the confidence was fleeting.
Roland-Story let South Hamilton get just close enough to make it interesting and then put the pedal to the floor, as the Norsemen went on a 31-14 run over the final 11:18 to turn the Heart of Iowa Conference contest into a runaway, 57-35.
Diersen’s triple pulled the Hawks (3-10, 2-6 HOIC) within 26-21. Roland-Story (9-4, 6-2 HOIC) scored 10 of the next 11 points and finished the third period on a 12-3 spurt.
“We can’t quite get over the hump,” South Hamilton head coach Mark Henderson said. “We get games real close and then just one slip up in concentration or just one lazy pass and it turns into a four- or six-point swing. That’s holding us back from being able to pull games like this out.”
South Hamilton did an adequate job of breaking Roland-Story’s full-court pressure defense during the game’s initial 21 minutes. But over the final 11? Not so much.
The Norsemen turned three steals into eight points — two of the breakaways resulted in three-point plays — during the late stages of the third to extend their cushion to 14 points, 38-24, heading into the final quarter.
South Hamilton turned the ball over 18 times in all.
Reagan Barkema supplied Roland-Story with a big fourth quarter — she poured in nine of her 11 points over the final eight minutes — to help the visitors pull further away.
“They made a couple steals and converted, and then the Barkema girl knocked down a couple 15 footers,” Henderson said. “You’ve got to give her credit for that and that ate into our game plan and turned the tide some.”
The two teams traded 3-point punches throughout much of the first half. They combined for six first-quarter 3s and had eight by the break.
Roland-Story is one of the top 3-point shooting teams in 3A. It missed plenty in the opening half, but offensive rebounds allowed second- and third-chance opportunities.
The Norsemen out-rebounded South Hamilton 38-33 with 16 of their boards on the offensive glass. MaKayla Geise, a Valparaiso volleyball recruit, collected seven offensive rebounds.
“It is harder to rebound out of a zone, which is what we were playing, but there were definitely times where girls lost concentration and just lost the ball rather than finding a body to box out,” Henderson said of the first half, which saw the Norsemen jump ahead 22-15.
Aneesa Balderas rattled in a pair of 3s for all six of her points in the first half. Rylee Woodall also canned two triples and finished with six points.
After failing to reach double figures in any games during the month of December, Breanne Diersen reached the mark for the second time in as many January outings. The senior forward found her spot at the top of the key and poured in a team-high 11 points to go along with six rebounds and two steals for the Hawks.
“Breanne has a nice shot and we’ve always wanted her to shoot more,” Henderson said. “Her confidence is through the roof right now and that’s good to see.”
Sydney Friest pitched in eight points and 10 rebounds. Hailey Diersen produced three points and eight boards.
Roland-Story’s Kylie Tjernagel scored a game- and career-high 18 points, half of them coming from outside the arc. She entered the contest averaging just 4.6 points per game.
It only gets tougher for South Hamilton on Tuesday, as it will make the drive south to Alleman to face top-ranked (3A) North Polk at 6 p.m.
Roland-Story 57, South Hamilton 35
Friday at Jewell
Roland-Story (9-4, 6-2 HOIC) — Jordyn Ramus 0 0-0 0, Juliann Clark 1 2-4 4, Amy Rathmacher 3 0-0 6, Madeline Morton 1 0-0 3, Reece Johnson 1 1-2 3, Susie Weaver 3 0-0 8, Reagan Barkema 4 3-3 11, MaKayla Geise 1 1-4 3, Kylie Tjernagel 6 3-3 18. Totals: 20 11-17 57.
South Hamilton (3-10, 2-6 HOIC) — Kelsey Hildreth 0 0-0 0, Rylee Woodall 2 0-0 6, Emma Lewis 0 0-2 0, Breanne Diersen 3 3-3 11, Brookelyn George 0 1-2 1, Aneesa Balderas 2 0-0 6, Hailey Diersen 1 1-3 3, Sydney Friest 3 1-4 8, Caleigh Hewitt 0 0-2 0, Krista Swenson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 6-16 35.
Rol-Story 15 7 16 19 — 57
S. Hamilton 10 5 9 11 — 35
3-point field goals — R-S 6 (Tjernagel 3, Weaver 2, Morton); SH 6 (Woodall 2, Balderas 2, B. Diersen, Friest). Rebounds — SH 33 (Friest 10, H. Diersen 8, B. Diersen 6). Steals — SH 3 (B. Diersen 2). Assists — SH 8 (Woodall 3, Friest 2). Turnovers — SH 19. Team fouls — R-S 16, SH 18. Fouled out — none.