Trojans’ balance overcomes South Hardin’s rallies

ELDORA – The Tigers made several runs at the Trojans Friday.

But it was South Tama County’s big one early that trumped them all.

Breaking open the game with a 14-0 flurry spanning the first and second quarter, the South Tama County girls’ basketball team fended off South Hardin for a 66-53 victory in an NICL West Division showdown.

Kaleigh Sieck poured in a game-high 20 points and led four Trojans (7-7, 6-6) in double figures. Megan Wanatee added 17, Shelby Bradley had 12 and Jade Rohach scored 10.

“They’re irreplaceable,” South Tama coach Marsha Keahna said of her senior crew.

Trailing 13-11 late in the first, the Trojans rattled off 14 unanswered points with Wanatee’s transition layup giving South Tama a 25-13 advantage with 3:07 left in the second.

A basket from Sarah Boomgarden broke South Hardin’s six-minute drought and sparked an 8-0 run to bring the Tigers within 25-21 late in the second. Sieck tallied a couple late buckets to push the Trojans’ cushion to 32-24 at the break.

A triple from Claire Damon and back-to-back treys from Sabrina DeHerrera triggered a 13-1 surge as South Hardin pulled within 38-37 with 2:23 left in the third.

The Trojans countered with eight unanswered points capped by a layup and 3-pointer from Kaliegh Sieck as South Tama led 46-38 entering the fourth.

South Hardin came within four twice in the fourth but couldn’t draw any closer as the Trojans hit 12-of-14 from the line in quarter.

“It’s an inside-outside game and everyone has to be ready,” Keahna said of defending the Tigers’ versatile attack.

“They made the adjustments well that we asked them to do tonight.”

DeHerrera led the Tigers with 15 points including 3 triples, while Damon added four of her own to finish with 13 points. Boomgarden also hit double figures with 11.

While the Tigers had a pair of big rallies in the second half, they seemed to stumble each time they had a chance to get over the hump.

“I call it the South Hardin curse,” South Hardin coach Matt Thompson said.

“We couldn’t finish bunnies. We get close, have two or three turnovers and then all of a sudden we’re down eight.”

The Tigers (5-10, 4-7) face East Marshall on the road Friday, while the Trojans go on the road against Wapsie Valley Tuesday and entertain BCLUW Friday.

Notebook

The Trojans won the previous meeting 79-61 in Tama on Dec. 11.