Ames outlasts upstart MHS
The Bobcats’ home crowd got one final glimpse of its seniors.
And for the first five minutes – a preview of how well the Marshalltown girls basketball team can play when everything is clicking.
Unfortunately it wouldn’t last.
Ames ended the early excitement with a 15-0 run and never let up for a 59-40 victory over Marshalltown in a Central Iowa Conference Northern Division showdown at the Roundhouse Friday.
Utilizing great ball movement to find holes in the Little Cyclones’ 2-3 zone, the Bobcats held a 6-5 edge at the 3:55 mark before four straight Bobcat turnovers allowed Ames to unleash eight unanswered points to close the first quarter.
“We did a great job of handling their pressure and not being intimidated,” Marshalltown coach Tim Johnson said.
“It was great to see the seniors come together at the start and I think Taylor (Wagner) being on the court gave them a little bit of a boost and Lauren Mazour’s ability to go out there and demonstrate that she’s working really pulls everyone along.”
Only a week removed from knocking off then No. 2 ranked Mason City, Ames added seven more points to their burst to open the second stanza to grab a 20-6 advantage.
The Little Cyclones, who connected on 11 3-pointers in their previous meeting against Marshalltown, made three in the opening quarter and two more in the second to build a 37-16 advantage by halftime. Molly Sanders hit a pair of 3s in the second and had 10 points in the quarter as Ames closed the half on a 16-4 spurt.
The Little Cyclones extended the margin to 47-24 in the third before cruising through the fourth.
Sanders led the Little Cyclones (11-7, 4-1) with 14 points, while Oklahoma recruit Shaya Kellogg added 12 on four treys. Jamie Steyer and Bailee Jackson scored eight apiece as Ames made eight shots from beyond the arc.
The Bobcats held their own on the boards, but struggled to find the same offensive rhythm they established at Fort Dodge last week.
“We battled and did a very good job rebounding tonight, but that means that we’re not making shots or they’re shooting and we have to go the length of the court,” Smith said.
“We got the shots we wanted, but the shots that were falling at Fort Dodge weren’t falling tonight.”
Eisha Oden paced the Bobcats (4-15, 2-3) with 10 points, while Rachel Blagg had nine and Lauren Mazour added eight.
The Bobcats battle Class 5A No. 5 ranked Ankeny on the road Thursday, before wrapping up the regular season against sixth-ranked Mason City Friday.
Johnson hopes the Bobcats can build from Friday’s strong start as they prepare for two top-10 ranked foes.
“We need to continue to handle the pressure and not be intimidated with the press,” Johnson said.
“We need that same ball movement, but we’ll also need to make some more of those backside shots.”
The Little Cyclones were coming off a 59-42 victory over then-No. 2 ranked Mason City Jan. 25. … The Bobcats lost to the Little Cyclones 69-32 in Ames Dec. 14. … Wagner was back in the starting lineup for the Bobcats after missing a majority of the season with bronchitis, though Johnson believes Friday’s outing was likely her last for the year.
“I wanted to her to walk off the home court as a senior,” Johnson said. “She’s probably done for the season. We don’t want to risk her long-term.”