By Susan Harman
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Friday’s game at City High ambled along for two quarters, taking its time as if it were out for a Sunday stroll. A couple minutes into the third quarter it caught the express train, as the Little Hawks turned up the pressure and zoomed by Cedar Rapids Xavier, 59-40.
“We really realized we needed to kick it into gear if we were going to get up by a lot and kind of have a stretch at the end of the game like we like,” City senior guard Sydney Schroder said. “So we sucked it up, got all our energy together and said we need to get going to get them.”
Second-ranked City High improved to 14-0 overall after the MVC non-divisional matchup. Xavier, ranked seventh in Class 4A, fell to 7-6 overall, but all its losses have come to 5A teams.
City started with a 1-3-1 zone and used some man-to-man defense as well in the first half. Xavier was content with the slower pace and patient on offense as it moved the ball to find openings.
City led 25-20 at halftime lead after shooting 38 percent from the field.
“We’re a small team so we have to use our advantages,” junior guard Christina Hora said. “We’re quick and we’ve got the basketball IQ, so we know when they’re going to pass and we get there fast. That’s a big thing we wanted to use in the second half.”
Xavier scored two baskets to cut the lead to 25-24 as City missed two shots and committed two turnovers. The crowd sensed a shift in momentum was afoot.
But Ashley Joens’s basket off an in-bounds pass bumped the lead to 27-24, and then the Little Hawks began to press full court.
“It was a change of pace, like they’re not going to expect it,” Hora said.
“We changed the tempo,” City coach Bill McTaggart said. “It was Xavier’s tempo, and we had to do something. Coach (Travis) Dyer suggested that we do some full court. We had a little run there in the third and that probably was the difference.”
City either scored off steals or in quick transition and outscored the Saints 14-6 to end the third quarter with a 41-30 lead. The Saints called three timeouts in the final 4 minutes of the third quarter to stem the tide, and in the process exhausted their allotment of timeouts.
“They were looking down and were frustrated with themselves,” Schroder said. “They were yelling at each other, and when a team starts yelling at each other you know you’ve gotten in their heads.”
City put the game away by scoring in its first three possessions of the final quarter to take a 48-30 lead. City scored in nine out of 10 possessions during its run.
The Little Hawks were led by Ashley Joens’ 22 points. Kenya Earl had 11. It wasn’t a great shooting night for the home team, but it did enough defensively to win comfortably over a scrappy, physical Saints team. The Saints were led by Lexi Noonan’s 22. Noonan made 9-of-11 shots from all over the floor. She didn’t get enough help, however.
“If they can put together a full game, they’re going to make it to state,” McTaggart said. “That’s a good team.”
CR Xavier 8 12 10 10–40
City High 11 14 16 18—59
C.R. Xavier (40) – Kiana Stanek 1-6 0-0 3, Caitlynn Daniels 0-2 0-0 0, Kylie Brown 2-5 0-0 4, Lexi Noonan 9-11 4-5 22, Amelia Ivester 3-6 0-0 6, Maria Steffen 0-1 2-2 2, Emily Jasper 1-3 0-1 2, Jessica Callahan 0-2 0-0 0, Maddix Stovie 0-0 1-2 1, Lauren Cooling 0-0 0-0 0, Addy Hoffman 0-0 0-0 0, Paige Diebold 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-36 7-10.
City High (59) – Rose Marie Nkumu 2-4 0-0 4, Sydney Schroder 3-5 2-3 8, Ashley Joens 10-20 0-0 22, Aubrey Joens 1-7 2-2 5, Kenya Earl 4-13 2-2 11, Christina Hora 2-3 0-0 5, Mikayla Lacey 0-1 0-0 0, Paige Rocca 1-1 1-2 3, Madelynn Fontana 0-0 0-0 0, Samantha Greving 0-0 0-0 0, Samantha Schroder 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 9-11.
3-point goals: Xavier 1-6 (Stanek 1-5, Noonan 0-1), City 5-14 (Ashley Joens 2-5, Aubrey Joens 1-3, Earl 1-5, Hora 1-1). Total fouls: Xavier 12, City 10. Fouled out: none.