Redhawks bounced by Baxter

North Tama junior guard Gabe Kopriva (1) attacks the basket against Baxter defenders Nate McMinamen (42) and Carson Scroggins during the first half of Tuesday’s Iowa Star Conference South Division basketball game in Traer. -- Photo by Noah Rohlfing

TRAER — It was all going according to plan for the North Tama men’s basketball team through one half of action Tuesday night.

The Redhawks jumped out to an early lead and held an eight-point advantage when the first half was over, sitting pretty and holding onto hopes of a big Iowa Star South divisional win.

Then the second half started, and all the Redhawks’ good work in the first 16 minutes went out the window.

North Tama scored six points in the third quarter, turning its lead into a five-point deficit. The Redhawks would not get back into the game, as Baxter (9-4, 4-3 Iowa Star South) ended the night 62-47 winners and held the Redhawks to just 14 points in the final 16 minutes.

Chief among the difficulties faced by the Redhawks (5-7, 3-4 ISS) was foul trouble.

Junior guard Devin McKinley pulls up for a three point shot against Baxter on Jan. 19. McKinley finished with six points, all coming from beyond the arc. -- Photo by Noah Rohlfing

Starting point guard Devin McKinley is key to how coach Alex Tagtow likes to set up his offensive plays. McKinley started strong, but picked up four fouls in the first half — one of which the North Tama coaches were unaware of, as they felt he wasn’t near the play.

Without McKinley for large stretches of the game after the first quarter, he said it made the rest of the team work that much harder to create the same looks on the offensive end. Gabe Kopriva was the Redhawks’ leading scorer with 17 points, 14 of them in the first half of action.

Still, he was pleased with how the team responded.

“I thought we responded pretty well,” Tagtow said. “I wouldn’t say we got bad shots while he was out, but I think we just kind of wore out. I think we didn’t have the legs as the game got deeper into the second half. Those shots that we were getting that were still good ones, we didn’t have the legs and we were a little short.”

McKinley scored six points — both on 3-pointers — and fouled out 18 seconds into the fourth quarter. With his fouling out, the die was cast on offense for the Redhawks. Adam Greiner scored most of his 15 points in the second half, but he was the only player on the team to score more than three points after the halftime interval.

Junior forward Adam Greiner takes a shot from long distance after getting a screen from Dylan Hosek (30). The Redhawks fell in their contest with the Baxter Bolts by a final score of 62-47. -- Photo by Noah Rohlfing

In the first half, Tagtow said, the team played great defensively and kept Baxter from hitting shots it normally would.

But much like the offense, with a key cog missing, the defense began to wear down as the game went on and by the fourth quarter, Baxter was in the ascendency while North Tama was running out of gas.

It’s part of the growing pains for a young roster, Tagtow said. He added that putting together a complete four quarters has been difficult for the Redhawks and said Tuesday’s loss was just another teaching moment.

“These are all new scenarios for us,” Tagtow said. “It kinda wore us down and we’re learning. We’re also trying to learn how to respond to having a good half. We’re getting there, these are just learning experiences.”

North Tama visits Collins-Maxwell Friday night.

Baxter 62, North Tama 47

BAXTER (9-4, 4-3) — Rory Heer 6 1-2 13, Kael Johnston 3 0-0 8, Carson Scroggins 1 4-4 6, Cody Damman 6 3-4 19, Nate McMinamen 1 2-2 5, Treyton Travis 1 2-2 4, Cael Shepley 1 3-5 6, Trice Clapper 0 1-2 1. TOTALS 19 16-21 62.

NORTH TAMA (5-7, 3-4) — Gabe Kopriva 6 0-0 17, Devin McKinley 2 0-0 6, Michael Schrier 1 0-0 3, Adam Greiner 5 3-3 15, Dylan Hosek 1 0-2 2, Camden Clausen 1 0-0 2, Jared Dvorak 1 0-0 2, Logan Siemens 0 0-0 0, Thomas Hulme 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 17 3-5 47.

BAXTER 12 13 19 18 — 62

N. TAMA 13 20 6 8 — 47

3-Point Goals-Baxter 8 (Damman 4, Johnston 2, Shepley, McMinamen), NT 10 (Kopriva 5, McKinley 2, Greiner 2, Schrier). Team Fouls-Baxter 10, NT 21. Fouled out-Kopriva, McKinley.