The South Tama County girls took over in the second half and defeated the BCLUW Comets January 27 in Conrad, moving to within one conference game of clinching at least a share of the NICL crown.
South Tama's big girl underneath, Madison Baier, had already collected her 300th career block against Union six days earlier. (See story Page 2.)
Tonight she added another big mark to her career totals -- 1000 career points.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This one is worth a thousand points. This historic sequence shows Baier getting an offensive rebound and then shooting for her 999th and 1000th points of her career midway through the fourth quarter Jan.27 at BCLUW. The 6 ft.-4 in. senior is the only South Tama player to score 1000 points in the 5-on-5 era. She adds this to her career mark of 300 blocks she achieved six days earlier against Union.
A big night for the program," commented head coach Nate Roberts on Baier's accomplishment. "A big night for the team. Anytime you get a thousand-point scorer, you've got to remember all the kids that were beside her. She said it best in the locker room, 'It took all you guys to get there.' She doesn't have a selfish bone in her body."
In the five-on-five era at South Tama, she is unique.
"It's the first one in history, five-on-five. I'm proud of her, I'm proud of the girls," said Roberts.
BCLUW certainly did not care about South Tama history. The Comets came ready to play. The three-win Comets gave the Trojans everything they wanted in the first half, and even led after the first quarter, 16-12.
South Tama managed to claw its way back into a slight halftime lead, 28-27, after Amelia Hoskey scored with 13 seconds left. Courtney Amundson, who scored ten of her 13 points in the first half, and Danielle Montgomery with ten first half points out of twelve for the night, helped the Comets keep pace with the Trojans. The usually smothering, backcourt belly-button defense the Trojans have exhibited was being handled by the Comets.
Roberts made adjustments at half time.
"They really played our '32' well, our 2-2-1 press. We went in at half, just switched it up and ran a '41' press, which is basically a 1-2-1-1. A little bit different philosophy. You let them kind of have the sideline then trap them right away. We're good anticipators so we anticipated that next pass. (It was) good because I think everyone sped up, too."
It worked extremely well. Amundson is the Comets' best ball handler. If Amundson was trapped, her teammates struggled to get open and get to the ball. If a teammate was trapped, she could not get the ball out to Amundson.
The ensuing turnovers led to transition points which in turn sparked a 44-point offensive burst in the second half.
"Our defense created the offense in the second half," said Roberts. "We ran like three or four sets and that was about it. Our defense really spurned that second half."
"I should have done it in the first half, but we were just kind of dead, kind of lackadaisical. But that's going to happen in a 22-game season."
"Team-wise I thought the second half was a great effort. Jade Rohach comes out and blocks out well."
The Comets were held to just three points in the third period following intermission, 11 points for the entire second half.
The Trojans play, win and lose as a team, but tonight belonged to Baier.
Baier knew she was getting close to the magical 1000, but did not pay attention to her points at all during the game. She had no idea until she came out of the game what had happened.
"I came down and sat on the bench. Nate and I gave a high-five and he was like, 'You know what that was?' And I said, 'No. A high five? What?' He's like, 'That was a 1000!' I just smiled, I was happy!"
"I couldn't do it without my teammates.There's no way! My teammates helped me through it all."
"I remember being a freshman playing with Katie (Plantz), and Katie would score a lot of points. I was kind of nervous -- varsity and everything. As the years go on, I've gotten better at scoring and everything."
When she blocked her 300th shot against Union, she again was equally oblivious to it all.
"I don't keep that in my head," said Baier.
A smart way to play.
Baier's career marks through tonight are now 1000 points, 770 rebounds and 307 blocked shots.
Baier's 18 points tonight was matched by Kaleigh Sieck, followed closely by Kendra Bradley with 17. Rohach finished with nine.
South Tama committed 15 fouls for the game, and was 15 for 20 from the free throw line. BCLUW and 19 fouls and was seven for ten.
With three conference games to go, South Tama needs one win to gain a share of the NICL crown and two wins would give it to them outright.
South Tama now stands 16-1 overall, 10-1 in the NICL West.
The Trojans travelled to Reinbeck Jan. 31 to play Gladbrook-Reinbeck. They host AGWSR tomorrow night in a boy-girl varsity double header.
Scoring - Baier 18, Sieck 18, K Bradley 17, Rohach 9, Hoskey 6, S Bradley 3
Rebounds - Baier 6, Rohach 5, Sieck 5, Dvorak 2, Hoskey 2, Smith 2, K Bradley 1, S Bradley 1, Van Dyk 1
Assists - Smith 9, K Bradley 3, Sieck 2, Baier 2, Behounek 1, Rohach 1
Steals - Rohach 6, Sieck 6, Baier 5, K Bradley 5, Hoskey 2, Smith 2
Blocks - Baier 1