The top-ranked 2A West Marshall Trojans made it clear Jan. 17 that they deserved their number one ranking, cruising past South Tama, 63-21.
Featuring one of the state's best big men underneath, 6'-6" senior Mike Newton, West Marshall took control of the game midway through the first quarter and never looked back.
South Tama actually led on three separate occasions, the last being at the 4:03 mark when Brad Evans scored to make it 7-6 South Tama. Thirteen seconds later, Newton made the third of his five baskets in the first quarter alone to put the West Marshall Trojans in the lead for good, 8-7.
West Marshall's McKenzie Shipley (10) was frustrated all evening January 17 by Kendra Bradley (3) and the Trojan defense. Also defending are Madison Baier (left) and Kourne Smith (23). South Tama inched closer to the NICL West crown, handing West Marshall their third conference loss, 54-42. Chronicle/Jeff Barker
The lid went on the basket for South Tama. South Tama did not score in the final 4:03 of the first quarter, and did not score at all in the second quarter. Meanwhile, West Marshall went on a 34-0 run to end the second period ahead, 40-7.
Newton already had his season average of 16 points at the half.
"He is easily the most valuable player in the NICL West," stated South Tama head coach Lonnie Hammond.
"West Marshall is number one in 2A for a reason. I felt like we played hard, we need to make more baskets, but we took shots that didn't go in. It wasn't that we took wild shots. We took shots in the offense, we moved the ball around."
South Tama would finally get back on the scoreboard when Brad Evans hit with 7:20 to go in the third. Evans would score twice more and Brandon Nelson, who is returning to the lineup and seeing limited playing time, pumped in a three with 1:53 to go.
West Marshall built the lead to 56-15 at the end of the third. Austin Lowe opened the fourth period with a three and Brad Cecak followed with a basket, but it was all decided except for the final score, which turned out in West Marshall's favor, 63-21.
"I felt like our kids tonight came and played, and they played as hard as they could," said Hammond. "We had some good shots. They didn't go in. It was like a lid was on the basket and they just switched ends at halftime."
Hammond still found some things they can take away from the game.
"I want to pat all of the kids on the back. The kids on the bench were helping the kids on the floor, whether it was a starter on the bench or a reserve on the bench. We played like a team tonight. We played together. And you weather the storms together. When you come out on the other side, good things happen."
South Tama was two for four from the free-throw line and had 12 fouls. West Marshall was 13 for 18 with six team fouls.
The Trojans are now 1-13 (1-9) for the season. They hosted South Hardin January 20, and host Wapsie Valley tonight.
Scoring - Evans 13, Nelson 3, Lowe 3, Cecak 2
Rebounds - Evans 4, Fonseca 3, Bidwell 2, Hopper 2, Kuhter 2, Davenport 1, Lowe 1
Assists - Kuhter 1, Cecak 1, Davenport 1, Evans 1, Lowe 1, Fonseca 1
Steals - Kuhter 1, Davenport 1
Blocks - Fonseca 2, Bidwell 1, Hopper 1