REINBECK - After last week's game was postponed twice for winter weather, South Tama's girls basketball team defeated Gladbrook-Reinbeck for the second time this season.
Saturday's road contest was the second for South Tama in a 24-hour period. After losing a tough game down the stretch at AGWSR Friday night, the STC girls squad came back and played a fast-paced, full-court style game against the Rebels. STC led the majority of the contest and beat the Rebels 88-74.
"This was nice," coach Marsha Keahna said. "We needed it mentally. We needed the AGWSR game more and I wish we could have won that game. It was a tough loss, but for them to come back and fight hard the next night is a testament to their character."
South Tama senior Kaleigh Sieck (No. 5) dribbles around AGWSW junior Kim Ellingson during Friday’s road contest. Sieck scored 18 points in the Trojans 57-47 loss. Sieck also led the Trojans with 24 points at Gladbrook-Reinbeck on Saturday. STC beat the Rebels 88-74.
South Tama handled the Rebels' full-court defensive press well throughout Saturday's game. STC broke the pressure and scored numerous layups. South Tama built an early lead in the first half and continued to lead 40-31 at halftime.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck chopped at the Trojans' lead during the second half and even closed it to one point during the third quarter. The Trojans responded and took control of the game in the fourth quarter.
"You get sucked into it and then you try and ask them to slow down, but they're so used to it that it's hard to do," Keahna said. "They've been pushing the tempo for three quarters. We did score 88 points and that's a lot of points, especially when you score 46 the night before. We nearly doubled our points."
Despite a 12-point lead during the final two minutes, South Tama continued to rush its offense. STC broke the Rebels' press and immediately looked for layups. Seniors Kaleigh Sieck and Shelby Bradley scored layups during the final minutes, but the Trojans also turned the ball over twice instead of running clock.
"We wanted them to get it across half court and slow it down," Keahna said. "We want to pass the ball quickly, but don't have to shoot right away or force anything. A couple of them did and it was frustrating, because we had just talked about it."
Sieck scored a career-high 24 points for the Trojans Saturday night. Bradley also put up a career-best 20 points in the win. Senior Jade Rohach also scored in double figures with 11 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds for a double-double.
On Friday, Sieck was the only Trojan to score in double figures as the game was much lower scoring than the one in Reinbeck. Sieck scored 18 points to lead the Trojans, but no other player scored more than six points in the loss.
South Tama jumped out to a quick lead on Friday as it beat AGWSR's zone defense and stifled the Cougars with a zone defense of its own. After an offensive rebound and put-back from Sieck early in the game, senior Megan Wanatee and Bradley each sank a three-pointer on back-to-back possessions giving STC an 8-0 lead two minutes into the game. Sieck added a free throw two minutes later.
AGWSR finally got on the scoreboard at the 3:32 mark in the first quarter. STC led 10-4 with 1:13 remaining in the quarter after Sieck sank 1-of-2 foul shots. Then the Cougars scored five unanswered to finish the quarter.
The Cougars continued to roll into the second quarter. They extended their run to 15-0 as they lead 19-10 midway through the quarter before a basket from sophomore Erin Clayton stopped the run. Both teams exchanged buckets before half and the Cougars led 33-23 at the break.
South Tama clawed back into the game and cut it to two with a layup from Sieck and then again to one point after Sieck stole an AGWSR pass and sank a three-pointer on the fast break. STC was never able to take the lead late in the game, despite chopping the Cougars' lead to two points again on two Sieck free throws.
"We were right there with them and even ahead in the first quarter," Keahna said of the AGWSR game. "(AGWSR) inched back in and we stayed with them. Then we had that same conversation about how we had the water hot. We had it at 211 degrees, but we don't turn it up one more degree to get it boiling. That's been our motto all year 212 degrees get that water boiling and keep it boiling."
AGWSR led 48-46 with 2:07 remaining in the game. On the following possession, Rohach grabbed a defensive rebound before AGWSR appeared to tie up the possession with a jump ball, but Rohach was called for traveling after ripping the ball away from her opponent. The Cougars made a pair of free throws on the next possession and the game was never close again.
South Tama struggled to make shots down the stretch. The Trojans had open looks at three-pointers, but couldn't sink anything. Meanwhile, AGWSR closed out the contest with foul shots.
"Our percentage was really bad last night," Keahna said of the final two minutes. "We were 0-of-9 from three-point range and around 1-of-14 on two-pointers. It was terrible. We couldn't buy a shot, but they weren't bad looks. We beat their 1-3-1 zone and got open looks, but couldn't make anything."
STC will host Grinnell on Tuesday and Benton Community on Thursday before playing its postseason opener on Saturday at Mid Prairie.
"We have two tough ones at home," Keahna said. "Grinnell and Benton are always tough. It would be a really big emotional win if we could beat Grinnell at home, because we lost by only five points the first game of the season."