After the win against no. 9 Union three days earlier, coach Roberts needed to find a way to improve upon some lineup problems. He needed some girls to step up to the challenge. January 24, against Wapsie Valley, it was Amelia Hoskey.
In the end, the game was lop-sided. However the Warriors (3-14) kept it close in the first quarter.
Kaleigh Sieck started things out right with a three-pointer with 6:49 left. Wapsie Valley answered over the next two minutes with a basket by Autumn Brocka and a trey by Maddie Matthias. Madison Baier knotted things up 5-5 with 3:35 to go.
Launching one of her three second quarter three's against Wapsie Valley January 24 is South Tama senior Amelia Hoskey. Hoskey finished the night tied with Madison Baier with 13 points and game-high honors. The Trojans took care of the NICL East Warriors, 72-19. Chronicle/Jeff Barker
Jade Rohach's bucket with 3:05 left gave the no. 6 Trojans the lead for good, 7-5. Rohach, Sieck, Baier, and Kendra Bradley staked out an 11-6 lead at the end of one.
With Kourtne Smith directing traffic, the well-oiled machine was chugging along in the second quarter. With two minutes to go, South Tama led, 23-10. Hoskey came in, missing her first couple of shot attempts. It was not long, however, before she lit it up.
In the last two minutes, she let her basketball announce to everyone that she had arrived and was ready to play. She was unconscious from the floor. She drained her first three at the 1:56 mark, hit her second three with 56 seconds left, and finally knocked down her last three with six seconds to go.Three shots, three three's -- all in cool, workmanlike fashion.
The remarkable string was only interrupted by a score by Baier with 1:30 to go. It was obvious as the Trojans backpedaled after each three into defense that they were feeding off of it.
Hoskey's performance did not go unnoticedby Roberts.
"That's just a culmination of her staying with the program, looking for that time when she's going to get her shot, and she's going to take advantage of it. She's a great kid, great player, and I'm happy to see that."
Baier opened the second quarter with a nice, 15-foot jumper. The half ended with South Tama out front, 34-10. In the second half, the Trojans' stifling defense allowed only nine points -- two three's, a two-pointer and a free-throw. Meanwhile, the offense kept rolling, making the final score, 72-19.
Like every team South Tama has played this season, Wapsie started out trying to zone and deny Baier. Unlike most games this season, the Trojans eventually saw some man-to-man.
"Hopefully, after you're up 24 points," pointed out Roberts, "The team will switch to man-to-man, but we haven't seen that very much. They'd stay with it, trying to shut down Maddie.
"I thought Maddie was pretty active offensively. (Her) shot wasn't falling, a little bit too quick on her shot tonight. But I liked her activeness in the second half. She had six blocks, the most she's had all year long. I think she had a game where she had seven. But she was very active offensivelyand defensively and I like to see that."
Baier's season-best six blocks matched her output against Grinnell in the third game of the year. Her career best referred to by Roberts came November 27, 2010, against West Branch when she stuffed seven shots.
Baier and Hoskey led all scorers with 13 points. Hoskey also turned in three steals and dished off for three assists. Not to be lost in all of that is the play of at least two other Trojans off the bench, Taylor Van Dyk and Brooklyn Dvorak. Van Dyk was three for three from the field for six points, and Dvorak was tied for second in rebounds with four.
Roberts was excited about Dvorak, Van Dyk and the others off the bench.
"The way those girls are playing, that's huge for us. Heading into regionals, that's huge!"
The bench play is peaking at the right time. Heading down the home stretch, the Trojans have a bench that can come in and play anytime. Tonight, all eleven Trojans played and all eleven got into the scoring column.
Bradley continues to play solid ball, particularly on defense. She is the go-to girl when the team needs to shut down a particular player. Against the Warriors, she turned in ten points, four rebounds, nine assists, five steals and no turnovers.
Roberts still knows there are aspects of the girls' play that need more attention. He has recently been concerned with rebounding and "completing defensive possessions." Tonight was no different.
"I wasn't happy in the first quarter with our ability to finish defensive possessions. That means all the way through the defensive rebound to when you're outletting the ball for offense. They had four offensive rebounds in the first quarter. That can't happen. You just got to work at it, you've got to want Io rebound. I thought after the first quarter we did a much better job of finishing possessions."
South Tama's free-throw shooting was better tonight. The Trojans were called for ten fouls and were five for six from the line. Wapsie Valley was four for six with eleven fouls.
The Trojans remain in the driver's seat for the NICL crown. They are now 15-1 (9-1) and have a two-game lead with four conference games remaining
The Trojans travelled to Conrad Jan. 27 for a game against BCLUW. They go to Reinbeck tonight for a game against Gladbrook-Reinbeck.
Scoring - Baier 13, Hoskey 13, K Bradley 10, Sieck 10, Rohach 6, Smith 6, Van Dyk 6, Behounek 2, S Bradley 2, Dvorak 2, Magpie 2
Rebounds - Baier 8, K Bradley 4, Dvoark 4, Smith 3, Sieck 2, Behounek 1, Rohach 1, Magpie 1
Assists - K Bradley 9, Smith 6, Hoskey 3, Baier 1, S Bradley 1
Steals - K Bradley 5, Hoskey 3, Rohach 2, Smith 2, Baier 1, Dvorak 1, Sieck 1
Blocks - Baier 6, Rohach 1