LE GRAND South Tama's girls basketball team accomplished one of its season goals Friday night when it thoroughly whipped rival East Marshall.
All 12 STC players played significant minutes and scored in the Trojans first victory since Dec. 18. The Trojans followed it up with a home victory over Vinton-Shellsburg on Saturday night.
South Tama led by a wide margin in both games and won back-to-back games for the first time since it won three-in-a-row before the holiday break. STC (6-6) crushed East Marshall 73-27 before defeated Vinton-Shellsburg 72-57.
South Tama junior Emily Martin dribbles along the baseline as a pair of East Marshall players try to trap her in the corner. Martin was one of 12 STC players who scored Friday night as the Trojans won the game 73-27.
"It was really good just to get a win after the past few losses," senior Kaleigh Sieck said Friday night. "Tonight, everyone scored and that was one of our goals.
"It was like a rush," she said. "We were really excited, because that was one of our goals from the beginning of the year."
STC coaches and players were all ecstatic about having all 12 players score Friday night. The starters sat on the bench most of the second half, allowing the rest of the team plenty of time to score.
"It felt good to get that win," senior Shelby Bradley said. "I couldn't stay on the bench. I had to get up and cheer, because I love seeing my teammates score. They make us better in practice."
Coach Marsha Keahna agreed.
"That was a great game," Keahna said. "We even got everyone to score, which is awesome. That was one of the senior goals and we met the goal tonight."
The Trojans were seven seconds away from not reaching their goal Friday. Three of the Trojans scored during the final minute of the game. Junior Emily Martin sank one of two free throws with 55 seconds remaining. Nearly 20 seconds later, junior Sam Holtz scored a layup after catching a pass from junior Hailee Weiss.
Then with 10 seconds left, Martin grabbed a defensive rebound and began dribbling down court. She spotted junior Regina Balderas ahead of her and passed her the ball. Balderas scored the layup to record the final basket of the game. Senior Sherri Marland and Weiss also scored layups during the final quarter.
"They really wanted it to happen," Keahna said. "They really wanted it for Sherri. Then we got down to the end and we had to look for those who hadn't scored. We had to find Regina at the end."
South Tama built an early lead that continued to grow for most of the game. Nearly midway through the first quarter, East Marshall hit one free throw to close the STC lead to 4-3. During the next 4:22, the Trojans outscored the Mustangs 21-4.
Senior Megan Wanatee recorded two-straight steals, which led to two quick layups for South Tama. Following an EM timeout, Sieck picked up her defensive intensity and recorded two steals and layups. Sophomore Erin Clayton scored five points for STC during the final 2:15 of the first quarter.
"Kaleigh had a lot of steals," Keahna said. "The intensity was there the whole game. Even though we were up a lot, we didn't roll over and let them start scoring on us. That was something we needed to do. We have to keep up that intensity for the whole game and we did tonight."
South Tama's offense kept rolling in the second quarter as it scored 25 more points. Clayton started the quarter with a basket and a pair of foul shots. Bradley and Sieck each hit a three-pointer, while junior Trisha Walz scored a layup.
Sieck scored 12 of the final 15 points for the Trojans. Her three-pointer sparked her offense. She finished the second quarter by making 7-of-8 free throws as she scored a team-high 18 points.
"This win gives us a lot of confidence, but we can't take anything for granted," Sieck said. "We just have to play like we do any other time."
Senior Jade Rohach, Walz, Bradley and Wanatee helped the Trojans increase their lead to 36 points midway through the third quarter before they called off their full-court press
"We had more energy tonight," Bradley said. "I think we were also quicker, so we wanted to go in and get the offense right away."
Rohach was the only other Trojan to score in double figures. She added 10 points to the win. Bradley and Clayton each scored nine. STC recorded 23 assists on 24 made field goals Friday.
On Saturday, the Trojans hosted a struggling Vinton-Shellsburg squad. The Vikings led early in the game until STC scored the final eight points of the first quarter. However, the Vikings ended it early in the second quarter as they tied the game at 14-14 with 6:17 left in the half.
During the final six minutes of the half, South Tama destroyed the Vikings by outscoring 28-3. It started with a pair of three-pointers from Bradley and Sieck. Van Dyk had a steal and layup before Rohach scored four points. Then Sieck hit another trey before Bradley hit a pair of three-pointers. The senior trio of Rohach, Bradley and Sieck scored 26 of the 28 STC points in the second quarter.
"That was a confidence builder for Kaleigh and Shelby to hit a couple of those," Keahna said. "It was nice for them to make a few shots."
Vinton-Shellsburg quickly began closing the gap in the second half. The Vikings cut it to under 20 points less than four minutes into the third quarter. By the end of the quarter, they trailed by 13 as STC's offense struggled to make shots.
"We came out really good in the second quarter and then fell back in the third quarter," Keahna said. "We have to keep the intensity up the whole game. We really have to make sure we keep it up the entire game and not be satisfied with a big lead."
The Vikings didn't come any closer than 10 points during the final eight minutes of the contest. Each time they'd score, they'd foul South Tama and give the Trojans opportunities to make free throws. STC made 23-of-35 for the game.
"We still have to work on our inside-outside game," Keahna said. "We have to remember if we go inside; the outside will open up more, instead of trying to make something happen. We need to run the offense and pass the ball. It's coming along.
"I think we tried to run it tonight, but instead of slowing up and running our offense off of the fast break, we sped up our game," she added. "I think we thought we had to speed up the game and our offense, but we needed to speed up the game and run our offense off of that. We had eight turnovers in the second half, because we were trying to force things we didn't need."
South Tama hosted West Marshall on Tuesday night. On Friday, STC travels to Eldora to play South Hardin.