Friday was "Jam the Gym" night at South Tama County High School, and community members filled the stands Dec. 6 to watch the JV girls, varsity girls, and varsity boys battle against the West Marshall Trojans. The crowd's energy paid off and encouraged the South Tama varsity girls to victory against the Trojans.
The game was back and forth the entire night, with the two teams trading spots for the lead after every basket. South Tama proceeded to end the night with a final winning score of 53-47. The Lady Trojans are now 1-1 in the season.
Starters for South Tama were seniors Regina Balderas, Paige Van Dyk, Trisha Walz, Hailee Weiss, and sophomore Tieranny Keahna. West Marshall took first possession of the ball and scored the first points of the game. For South Tama, the first scorer was Balderas early in the game.
Trojan Trisha Walz shoots one of her game-winning free throws as the lead against West Marshall went back and forth in the 4th quarter on Friday night, Dec. 6 in the South Tama gym in Tama.
Van Dyk added a three-pointer - the first of the game - which brought South Tama ahead 6-4. This was the beginning of the struggle for the position of leading team. Neither team was ahead by more than three to four baskets at any point during the game.
At the end of the first quarter, South Tama was leading 12-11. At the halftime buzzer, South Tama had extended their lead 22-18. South Tama maintained their lead throughout the third quarter until West Marshall scored a three-pointer at the buzzer, bringing the score to 33-32, West Marshall. The crowd was on the edge of their seats the entire fourth quarter as the leading team flip-flopped between South Tama and West Marshall until free throw baskets by Walz sealed the deal and South Tama won 53-47.
"Our passes were better tonight and we did good on our rebounding both offensively and defensively," said Weiss. Weiss was South Tama's top rebounder with 9 rebounds. She also had 3 assists and 1 block.
Balderas was South Tama's top scorer of the night with 11 points. She also had 1 block, 1 assist, and 2 steals. Sophomore Madie Bacon contributed 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists. Sophomore Kallie Hala also had 10 points, 2 steals, and 1 assist. Walz followed with 7 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, and 3 assists. Keahna added 6 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 3 steals. Van Dyk chipped in 3 points, 4 blocks, and 2 steals. Sophomore Dani Stubbs also had 3 points as well as 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Junior Erin Clayton added 2 points, 1 rebound, and 1 steal.
"Kallie Hala really stood out to me tonight," said girls varsity head coach Marsha Keahna. "She took initiative to go after the ball and take the shots, which is something she's been working on."
During halftime of Jam the Gym night, the South Tama County Booster Club sponsored a knockout game, and a drawing for a flat-screen TV and other various prizes. For the knock-out contest, students ranging in ages from 7 to 14 competed for the prize of gift certificates to Godfather's Pizza.. Winners of the knock-out contest were Nolan Upah and Saylor Upah, and the winner of the flat-screen TV was Julie Berger.
"I was pleased with the crowd that came to support the girls tonight for Jam the Gym night," said Coach Keahna. "Their energy helps to pump up the players and helps them play better mentally too."
Weiss agreed, adding that cheering makes the players excited, and there can never be too much fan support.