North Tama falls to Bolts at home

Senior forward Abby DeBoef goes to the hoop against Baxter on Jan. 19. DeBoef led the Redhawks on offense scoring 12 points and the team’s only three point bucket. -- Photo by Noah Rohlfing

TRAER — Early on in Tuesday night’s Iowa Star South girls’ basketball action, the pace of the game was clear — and it was set by the Baxter Bolts. With a full-court press on and no breathing room for the North Tama ball handlers, it was a frustrating 32 minutes for the Redhawks.

The end result was a 57-22 Baxter win and a reminder of what the Redhawks need to improve on. The Redhawks fall to 5-8 on the season and 3-4 in the Iowa Star South.

North Tama head coach Shawn Larmore said after the game that Baxter’s press was a focus, and that he thought the team largely handled it well.

The problem was what happened on the offensive end after breaking the press.

“We’ve gotta learn once we break the press to get into our offensive set,” Larmore said. “That’s where we need to continue to get better.”

North Tama senior post Rylee McLean, left, takes a shot over Baxter defenders Lilie Vansice (20) and McKenzie Eslinger, far right, during the second half of Tuesday’s Iowa Star Conference South Division girls basketball game in Traer. -- Photo by Noah Rohlfing

The first quarter ended 11-5, but in the second quarter Baxter (11-1, 8-0 Iowa Star South) started to flex its muscles on defense and offense, forcing turnovers in the half-court as opposed to on the break. Those turnovers led to transition baskets and a 25-12 halftime advantage. Larmore said the defensive intensity the Redhawks displayed in the first half was what they needed to have a chance at winning, but the offense wasn’t up to that level.

The second half began slowly, with two points in the first three minutes of play. But Baxter took advantage of North Tama’s offensive struggles to jump to a 41-19 lead and put the game out of reach before the fourth quarter even got underway.

The fourth quarter was much of the same — North Tama scored just three points as the Bolts stretched the advantage to 35 points by the final buzzer. The Redhawks’ leading scorer was Abby DeBoef with 12 points and the team’s only 3-pointer. Symphony McDowell scored seven points for North Tama.

Larmore said the Redhawks will need to improve their toughness to compete with the best teams in the conference.

“I think a lot of it’s just mental toughness, we’ve got to get better and tougher mentally,” Larmore said.

Junior forward Mya Sierra shoots over Baxter’s Bree Buswell in the Redhawks conference game on Jan. 19. -- Photo by Noah Rohlfing

North Tama plays Class 1A No. 7 Collins-Maxwell on the road Friday night.

Baxter 57, North Tama 22

BAXTER (11-1, 8-0) — Elie Tuhn 3 2-2 8, Maddie Pierce 4 2-6 10, McKenzie Eslinger 3 2-4 8, Lilie Vansice 2 0-2 4, Sophie Meyer 4 3-4 14, Merrin Ziesman 1 0-0 2, Cassy Berg 0 0-0 0, Bree Buswell 3 0-4 6, Mandee Selover 1 0-0 2, Brooke Bacon 1 0-0 3. TOTALS 22 9-22 57.

NORTH TAMA (5-8, 3-4) — Jadyn Rausch 0 0-0 0, Aubree Monat 0 0-0 0, Julianna Breakenridge 0 0-0 0, Rylee McLean 1 0-0 2, Abby DeBoef 5 1-3 12, Izzy Hallett 0 0-0 0, Lainey Willenbring 0 0-0 0, Mya Sierra 0 1-2 1, Jamie Jacobs 0 0-0 0, Lydia Taylor 0 0-0 0, Kinsley Even 0 0-0 0, Symphony McDowell 3 1-4 7, Kirstan Jans 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 9 3-9 22.

BAXTER 11 14 16 16 — 57

N. TAMA 5 7 9 1 — 22

3-Point Goals-Baxter 4 (Meyer 3, Bacon), NT 1 (DeBoef). Team Fouls-Baxter 14, NT 21. Fouled out-McLean.