City High junior Ashley JoensBy Pat Harty
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – When it comes to playing point guard, City High’s Rose Nkumu is a freshman in class only.
She showed that on Tuesday while helping the fifth-ranked Little Hawks defeat Cedar Rapids Prairie 77-47 at City.
Nkumu directed her team’s offense with precision and poise, while also playing a key role on defense at the front of City’s press.
“Rose is extremely intelligent,” said City coach Bill McTaggart. “That is probably her strength. She doesn’t make silly freshman errors and she turns our defense up a notch. She doesn’t turn the ball over. She takes smart shots.
“She been a huge addition to this year’s team. Offensively, I think we’re ahead of where we were last year.”
Nkumu already was familiar with the players on City’s team after working out with them this past summer and from just competing with and against them over the years in pickup games.
She knew that a major part of her responsibility as point guard would be to get the ball to stars Ashley Joens and Kenya Earl. That happened numerous times in Tuesday’s game as Joens scored 30 points, including 20 in the second half, and Earl chipped in with 18.
“I’ve known these girls for a while, so it’s not really a transition for me,” said Nkumu, who finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. “It’s not really a transition for me. It’s just like playing up to the next level.”
“And I’m happy to be with the people I’m playing with.”
Her teammates feel the same about Nkumu.
“She does a really good job of getting the ball to the players that need it,” said Joens, who has committed to play for Iowa State. “She’s played with my younger sister, so I’ve known her for a while. It hasn’t been much of a transition.”
Joens was referring to her freshman sister Aubrey Joens, who also starts for the Little Hawks. City’s starting lineup includes two seniors – Earl and Sydney Schroder, a junior in Ashley Joens, along with Nkumu and Aubrey Joens.
So far, it’s been a perfect blend of youth and experience as City improved to 4-0 with Tuesday’s 30-point victory, while Prairie fell to 1-5.
Prairie, which played mostly freshmen and sophomores, hung around for a while, trailing just 19-15 after the first quarter. However, City defensive pressure eventually started to disrupt Prairie’s offense and that led to turnovers.
Ashley Joens also shredded Prairie by making numerous baskets in the paint despite being doubled and tripled team. The addition of Nkumu has allowed the 5-foot-11 Joens to play more off the ball and post up her smaller defenders.
“It kind of depends, during high school there aren’t as many tall people, so then I can go inside
more,” Ashley Joens said. “And we also have other ball handlers that can handle the ball.”
Nkumu knows going into every game that getting Joens the ball in scoring position is one of her top priorities as a point guard.
“She’s our main scorer, and as you saw tonight, she tore it up in the paint and that’s what we expect from her and that’s what we need to win,” Nkumu said of Joens.
City will face a tougher challenge on Friday when it plays host to fifth-ranked Cedar Falls.
“They’re a really good team and they have a lot more size so they should give up a good matchup,” Ashley Joens said.
CR Prairie 15 8 16 8 – 47
City High 19 17 24 17 – 77
Cedar Rapids Prairie (47) – Sarah Schmitt 1-4 4-5 6, Sidney McCrea 8-15 0-1 17, Mallory McDermott 3-9 3-5 10, Jenna Wagemaster 1-2, 2-2 4, Halle Person 0-1 0-0 0, Lauren Kuch 1-5 0-0 2, Rachael Kilpatrick 1-3 0-0 2, Quinn Deahl 0-0 2-2 2, Makenna Moenk 0-1 0-0 0, Maggie Lampe 1-2 2-2 4, Nicole Sullivan 0-1 0-0 0, Morgan Erickson 0-0 0-1 0, Jenna Leggat 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-43 13-17 47.
City High (77) – Ashley Joens 11-16 8-14 30, Kenya Earl 5-9 6-6 18, Rose Nkumu 5-9 2-3 12, Sydney Schroder 2-7 1-1 5, Aubrey Joens 1-4 1-2 3, Christina Hora 1-3 0-0 3, Paige Rocca 1-2 0-0 3, Mikayla Lacey 0-0 0-0 0, Samantha Greving 1-2 1-2 3, Madelynn Fontana 0-2 0-0 0, Ashley Kuennen 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Schroder 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-55 19-28 77.
3-point goals – Prairie (McCrea, McDermott); City (Earl 2, Hora, Rocca). Fouls – Prairie 18, City 17. Fouled out – Schmitt.