December 9, 2013

Strong second half sends NM girls past Monte, 64-34

Herald correspondent


North Mahaska overcame foul trouble and a slow start and used a second-half run to upend Montezuma 64-34 in girls hoop play Friday. 
The win was second in a row for the Warhawks.
Although North Mahaska jumped out on top 16-6 in the first quarter, the game was closer than the score indicated. Foul trouble for the teams changed the way the teams played.
North Mahaska led 8-5 in the first period when the Warhawk defense stiffened and held Montezuma scoreless for nearly three minutes. North Mahaska pulled away the rest of the period and allowed just one free throw to earn the advantage.
North Mahaska (2-2) was able to build a 14-point lead only to see it go by the wayside as Monte used the free throw line to cut the lead to eight points at 20-12. It was as close as the Braves would get to their rivals.
North Mahaska exploded for 18 points in the third period to put the game away.
North Mahaska coach L.E. Moore made some defensive changes because of foul trouble, which helped lead to the transition baskets.
“We came out in the third quarter,” said Moore. “We were in some foul trouble so we changed up our defense. It was a really good defense for us. We do some really good things off that transition. (Michaela) Heys took over the game underneath and (Julia) Groenenboom had a great floor game and really locked down on (Mackenzie) James. It was certainly a better second half than first half.”
The Warhawks outscored Montezuma (1-4) 18-6 in the final frame behind the tandem of Heys and Groenenboom. Each scored off steals by the other and threw in baskets to keep the Braves in check.
Montezuma is on a four-games in one-week streak and Montezuma coach Cory Nikkel said his team was feeling the effects.
“It was a hard night for us,” said Nikkel. “Coming off two games this week and playing a good physical team like North Mahaska, we made some adjustments, but when you don’t have that practice time. Turnovers plagued us. The transition points that North Mahaska got hurt us. We did buckle up our pants in the first half to keep it close, but just couldn’t keep it up.”
Heys led all scorers with 24 points. She added six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. Groenenboom had just as impressive line with 15 points, five rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Montezuma had two players in double figures. James had 11 and Katie Maschmann had 12. Courtney Peterson pulled down eight rebounds.
Moore said the game was really a story of two halves for his team.
“I thought in the first half we were making some ill-advised passes,” said Moore. “Certainly Montezuma’s energy level was high and ours wasn’t. We were trying to match them and we weren’t there yet.
“We had to slow down and let the defense do the work for us. They got some nice shots. Their guards were penetrating, but they were getting shots off the rim. It was a good game for us. I thought late in the third and in the fourth we started shooting the ball better. It is a process for this team.”
North Mahaska will host BGM on Tuesday.
North Mahaska 64, Montezuma 34
M     6     12     10     6     —     34
NM     16     12     18     18     —     64
MONTEZUMA (34) — Katie Maschmann 12, Mackenzie James 11.
Rebounds — Courtney Peterson 8. Steals — Maschmann 3. Assists — James 2.
NORTH MAHASKA (64) —  Michaela Heys 24, Julia Groenenboom 15, Bailey Upton 7, Rachel Sherburne 6. 
Rebounds — Heys 6, Sherburne 6, Groenenboom 5. Steals — Sherburne 5, Groenenboom 5. Assists — Groenenboom 6, Maggie Ferguson 4. Block — Heys.