Ashley Joens shoots Friday night against Cedar Falls. By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Cedar Falls landed the first punch in a battle of Mississippi Valley Conference heavyweights on Friday night.
It was City High that had the counter and eventually the knockout blow in showdown of top-three teams in the state.
Class 5A second-ranked City High shook off an early deficit outscoring No. 3 Cedar Falls 34-11 in the second half on its way to a convincing 62-40 win in matchup of unbeatens at City High.
“We knew they were really good and they were going to come out and give us their best shot,” City High junior Ashley Joens said. “We knew we would have to play our best.”
Ashley Joens had a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds as City High (5-0, 4-0 MVC) remained unbeaten on the season and took a game lead in the MVC Valley Division rance.
Cedar Falls (3-1, 3-1 MVC) made its first four shots and led by as many as seven points twice in the first half but shot 19 percent from the floor and had nine turnovers after halftime.
“They came out and were hitting some 3s and that makes them a tough, tough team to defend,” City High coach Bill McTaggart said. “The second half it was defense and better shot selection. When we are getting deflections on defense we are pretty good and we got a lot more deflections and steals in the second half.”
Trailing 26-19 late in the second quarter City High closed the half on a 9-3 run and trailed 29-28 at halftime after Ashley Joens beat the buzzer with a jumper.
City High opened the second half on a 11-2 run, taking the lead for good on a put back by freshman Aubrey Joens with 5:11 left in the third quarter.
“They came out ready to play and we just wanted it more in the second half,” Aubrey Joens said. “We got after it and we got it done.”
Back-to-back 3-pointers by freshman Rose Nkumu and Sydney Schroder pushed the City High lead to 39-31.
A basket in the paint by Kiana Barney cut the lead to 39-33 but City High closed the quarter on an 8-2 run that featured a pair of baskets by Ashley Joens and Kenya Earl and pushed the lead to 47-35.
After allowing the Tigers to make 7-of-9 field goals in the opening quarter, City High held Cedar Falls to 21 percent shooting the rest of the game.
“We just had to turn our intensity up,” Nkumu said. “We were playing a little slow the first half and I think once we got a few steals and a few 3s we really got excited.”
City High didn’t waste any time putting the game out of reach.
City High scored the first four points of the fourth quarter and a 3-point by Earl with 5:41 left made it 54-37.
While Cedar Falls struggled from the floor City High shot 52 percent after halftime, turning several Tiger turnovers into easy baskets.
“We just came out with a lot more energy,” Ashley Joens said of the second half. “We wanted to pick it up on the defensive end which led to a lot of our offensive baskets.”
Earl finished with 11 points as four City High players had at least nine points in the win.
Nkumu added 10 points and Aubrey Joens had nine points and 10 rebounds.
Joens had 16 of her game-high 27 points in the first half to keep City High close but got plenty of help from her teammates after the half.
Earl had all 11 of her points after halftime while Schroder had all five of her points in the final two quarters.
“When I can get the ball in and kick it out it helps,” Joens said. “Then they had to get out and guard other people so it opened things up.”
City High 17 11 19 15 – 62
Cedar Falls 18 11 6 5 – 40
City High (62) – Christina Hora 0-1 0-0 0, Rose Nkumu 4-5 1-1 10, Sydney Schroder 2-7 0-0 5, Ashley Joens 10-18 6-9 27, Aubrey Joens 3-10 2-2 9, Kenya Earl 4-8 2-3 11, Team 23-49 11-15 62.
Cedar Falls (40) – Emerson Green 2-7 3-3 8, Reilly Johnson 0-2 0-0 0, Olivia Remmert 0-0 0-2 0, Calli Johnson 1-4 0-0 2, Taylor Becker 0-1 0-0 0, Ally Conrad 2-10 0-0 5, Hannah Bermel 0-1 0-0 0, Kiana Barney 2-5 0-0 5, Hailey Paup 1-2 0-0 2, Cynthia Wolf 6-11 4-4 18, Team 14-43 7-9 40.
3-point field goals – ICH 5-14 (Hora 0-1, Ash. Joens 1-1, Nkumu 1-1, Schroder 1-2, Aub. Joens 1-7, Earl 1-2) CF 5-16 (Green 1-2, R. Johnson 0-1, C. Johnson 0-2, Conrad 1-5, Barney 1-3, Wolf 2-3). Rebounds – ICH 27 (Ash. Joens, Aub. Joens 10) CF 30 (Wolf 8). Turnovers – ICH 10, CF 18. Total fouls – ICH 12, CF 15. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – CF (Bench).