Bobcats bury North in O’Hare’s debut

DES MOINES – The change is noticeable. Now it is up to the players to adjust.

There were 25 fouls called in the first quarter of Marshalltown’s season-opening game against Des Moines North on Tuesday.

Neither team could get into much of a flow offensively, and the team that shot better from the foul line won the game. That was Marshalltown as the Bobcats sunk 15-of-29 from the charity stripe and got balanced scoring from a host of players during a 61-23 triumph, the first at MHS for new coach Stacy O’Hare.

“I am pleased with the win and pleased with how they handled things,” said O’Hare. “They adjusted well in the second half. But it will take us time to figure out how games are going to be called.

“We need to also take advantage of it at the offensive end. We need to drive to the hoop and expect to get fouled. We are going to have to shoot more free throws in practice, too.”

The 25 fouls in the first quarter put several players on both sides in foul trouble. Despite some adjustments from both teams defensively, three Polar Bears fouled out and one Bobcat was disqualified.

O’Hare may want to consider dressing more than 10 varsity players as she and the Bobcats prepare to move forward with the state-wide change.

“I think it is overkill,” said O’Hare. “What it’s doing is it’s taking away from the game. We can’t get into a flow offensively because there are so many whistles.

“We are not tall so we are going to rely on our quickness, but we can’t do what we want to do on defense with all those calls.

The Bobcats buried six 3-pointers in the game and three of those came in the first 4 minutes as Marshalltown (1-0) led 19-4 after one quarter. Amanda Hughes and Ellyn Boland combined to score 12 as Emily Rebik also buried a triple.

“If fouls are going to keep being called like this, we need to drive to the hoop and try to get 3-point plays,” said Rebik. “We need to shoot free throws better, too.”

The Bobcats’ advantage in the second was only 13-10 but Marshalltown came out firing in the third and put the game away with a 22-3 advantage.

A 14-0 run started the frame as Sam Hughes and Kali Banks took turns scoring against the Polar Bears. Freshman Kyra Hungerford also got into the act with a trey. Sam Hughes again scored on a putback and canned another 3 before Hungerford’s second triple of the night made it 54-16.

O’Hare made sure to shift her 10 players in and out throughout the game. Her Bobcats let up off the gas in the fourth, scoring just seven points, but the game was well out of reach for North, which has a new coaching staff after an 0-20 season last year.

Rebik found a mismatch inside the paint late in the fourth quarter and ended up with a game-high 12 points and seven rebounds.

“I was taller than the girl guarding me so I used that to my advantage,” said Rebik. “It was a good game and a good win.”

Amanda Hughes and Sam Hughes both scored nine points, Boland put in eight and Banks finished with seven and Hungerford chipped in six. Amanda Hughes and Boland each pulled down seven rebounds as well.

“We have 10 kids that are pretty equal,” O’Hare said. “When they step out on the court there isn’t much of a drop-off.”

North scored nine more points than its average per game last year. Kenya Williams led the Polar Bears (0-1) with nine points, while Dixon’s two treys gave her six points. Des Moines North was just 5-of-24 from the foul line in the game.

There were 53 fouls called in the game. Both teams were in the bonus early in each half. The 35-point running clock was put into effect late in the third quarter after Sam Hughes’ 3-pointer.

“They are going to continue to call it that way,” O’Hare said. “So we are going to have to adjust. This is the way it’s going to be called all year. We shouldn’t have to bring more than 10 kids, but we may have to.”


Marshalltown will return to the court next Tuesday for a girl-boy varsity doubleheader against Des Moines Hoover at the Roundhouse. The varsity girls game is slated for a 6:15 p.m. start, while the boys game is scheduled for a 7:45 p.m. tip off. MHS beat the Polar Bears 67-29 last year at the Roundhouse. The Bobcats then fell at Des Moines Hoover 61-59 a week later. Hoover started its season Tuesday with a two-point home loss to Fort Dodge. Marshalltown beat Fort Dodge twice last year.