Decisive run separates No. 4 Royals from Warriors

COLO – One minute and 43 seconds was more than enough for Colo-NESCO coach Wayne Cafferty.

The Royals coach saw his team being outhustled and outworked from the opening tip as Deah Moore scored three quick buckets inside to give the Warriors an early 6-2 lead and used a timeout to get his players attention.

Class 1A No. 4 Colo-NESCO responded immediately with 22 unanswered points and set the continuous clock in motion in the second half in a 60-22 rout over Meskwaki Settlement.

The Royals’ big three led the charge as Caitlyn Riese poured in 20 points, Shayla Dean added 12 points, 12 steals and five assists, and Madison Farren contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds in the squad’s seventh straight win. Melanie Van Loon also scored 10 as Colo-NESCO (18-1, 14-1) sprinted ahead with its full-court pressure bothering the Warriors on nearly every possession.

“We came out playing soft. We were standing up and down and not being aggressive, and they were taking it right to us from the start,” Cafferty said. “We had to come out and be more aggressive, post up stronger, get the ball inside quicker and be more aggressive going to the boards because they were outhustling us the first few minutes there. Then we got going and started doing our thing and were able to pull away.”

Meskwaki (9-11, 6-10) was also hurt by foul trouble as Moore picked up her second foul with 50 seconds left in the opening frame before sitting much of the second. Colo-NESCO led 34-12 at the half and Moore then picked up her third foul in the first minute of the second half and her fourth late in the frame.

“Our post players got into foul trouble and then our cohesiveness kind of fell apart,” Meskwaki coach Heath Brown said. “We just didn’t have it after that.”

Riese set the clock in motion with a pair of free throws at 56-16 late in the third and Morgan Bear’s triple briefly stopped it before a 3 by Leah Vincent got it going in the fourth.

“They’re just consistent,” Brown said. “If someone is struggling, someone else comes off the bench and picks them up.”

Moore led the Warriors with eight points, while no other Meskwaki player had more than three. The Warriors were riding a three-game win streak coming into Friday.

The ramped-up intensity was indicative of the way the Royals have reacted since their 56-22 loss to No. 3 Janesville, with each of their last seven wins coming by double-digits including a 13-point victory over No. 7 Dunkerton.

“We just have to improve our execution,” Cafferty said. “Janesville woke us up a little bit and since then we’ve had better ball movement since then and Melanie Van Loon and Makaelyn Neuendorf have stepped up their play and made us tougher to defend. We’ve had all five of our starters score in double figures and lead us in scoring since then and that’s what we want.”

The Royals travel to GMG today and host Roland-Story Tuesday. The Warriors head to AGWSR Monday.

Notebook

The Royals won the previous meeting 62-37 in Meskwaki Settlement on Dec. 17.