A 15-0 run during the final four minutes of the first half propelled the South Tama County girls basketball team to its second win of the season.
After falling behind by seven points following a layup from South Hardin, the STC girls squad rattled off a 17-0 spurt that lasted into the second half. The remainder of the contest was up and down as STC led by as few as five points and as many as 20 points.
South Tama (2-3) won its second North Iowa Cedar League contest of the season on Tuesday night. STC beat South Hardin (3-5) 79-61 at home.
South Tama junior Hailee Weiss scores two of her 14 points Tuesday night with a layup. Weiss made seven shots from right next to the basket as the Trojans beat South Hardin 79-61.
"We're really coming together as a team right now," senior Kaleigh Sieck said. "We had a lot of assists, because we read each other well. We passed the ball well and we got open looks tonight. We're taking one step at a time, but we're working well together."
Senior Megan Wanatee was also excited about the Trojans win.
"It feels pretty good," Wanatee said. "We needed this more than anything. It was really nice to win by a lot. It was our teamwork and passing the ball when we needed it. Tonight we made the extra pass for the open shot."
Both teams battled neck-and-neck throughout the first quarter. South Hardin's offense was propelled by four three-pointers, including two from senior Sabrina DeHerrera, who hit five on the night en route to scoring 16 points.
South Tama hit a pair of threes during the final 33 seconds of the quarter, which took the Trojans from a four-point deficit to a two-point lead. Junior Paige Van Dyk hit the first one, before Sieck sank one with one second left in the quarter. Wanatee assisted Sieck's shot.
"We're starting to come together as a team," Wanatee said. "The first couple of games we weren't, because we hadn't played with each other. Now we're getting it together."
South Hardin took control of the game early in the second quarter as the Trojans offense stalled. The Tigers grabbed three offensive rebounds and scored two baskets during a 15-second stretch as they built a 30-23 lead midway through the quarter.
STC answered with a run that eventually put too much separation between the squads. It started with a basket from Wanatee. Less than a minute later, senior Shelby Bradley dished an assist to Sieck, who drained a three-pointer. Sieck hit two free throws seconds later, tying the game.
Wanatee converted a traditional three-point play a minute later, giving STC its first lead since the opening minute of the quarter. Senior Jade Rohach and junior Hailee Weiss each scored a basket as the Trojans closed out the half, leading 38-30.
"We challenged them to do that before halftime," coach Marsha Keahna said. "We also challenged them to just take better care of the ball."
After STC increased its lead to 10 points early in the third quarter, South Hardin quickly cut it to five points with two baskets. Then the Trojans answered with a 7-0 run, which included five points from Rohach. The Trojans held a double-digit lead for the remainder of the quarter, despite a 4-0 run by South Hardin at the end of the period.
South Hardin cut the Trojans lead to eight points early in the fourth quarter. However, the Trojans scored five quick points and kept a double-digit lead for the rest of the game. A basket from Weiss and a three-pointer from Bradley gave the Trojans a 13-point lead. The Trojans cleared the bench and allowed several players two minutes of action Tuesday night.
"This was a good win for us," Keahna said. "It was nice to get some of those other girls in the game and give them some time. That doesn't always get to happen.
"We reiterated in the locker room that everybody isn't getting the playing time they want or they're being taken out," she added. "We aren't doing that because of something they did, but because of situations. I think they are starting to realize it's a team effort and maybe we're getting there now. We have to get our team together and we can win big when we play together."
Sieck led the Trojans with 20 points Tuesday. Rohach and Weiss each added 14 points to the win. Rohach also grabbed 16 rebounds and Wanatee dished 13 assists as each player recorded a double-double. "We told Megan to slow it down," Keahna said. "She has to let everybody know what we're running and be the dictator out on the floor. She did a good job of that tonight."
It was Weiss' performance that impressed Keahna. The junior came off the bench and played tough defense, while scoring a career-high 14 points. All of those points came on seven field goals, each of which came from a foot or less from the basket. Her teammates found her open or she scored after grabbing an offensive rebound.
"She's so defensive minded that I think she was thinking more about where she's supposed to be for rebounding," Keahna said of Weiss. "Then when she caught a pass or rebounded the ball, the shot was right there for her. She hid in the background and was discrete about it. I'm happy for her to have a good game. She's played hard for us and not scored any points, so I'm happy for her."
South Tama will next play at 6:15 p.m. Friday in Conrad against BCLUW.
"If we can play like we did tonight, I think we will hold our own," Keahna said. "It's always tough when you go play in someone else's territory."