Redhawks ward off Warriors

First regional win since 2019 for North Tama girls

North Tama junior Ava Breakenridge (4) drives to the basket against Meskwaki defender Isabella Kapayou (25) during the first half of last Thursday’s Class 1A Region 2 first-round basketball game at Meskwaki Settlement School. PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER

MESKWAKI SETTLEMENT – Adelyn Sienknecht had the hot hand and she knew it.

The North Tama senior’s seventh 3-pointer of the night lifted the Redhawks to a 50-46 victory in a Class 1A Region 2 opener at Meskwaki Settlement School Thursday, Feb. 8.

North Tama (10-10) advances to the regional quarterfinals which was scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 13, at HLV (10-9). The Meskwaki Warriors bow out at 10-9.

Tied at 46, the Redhawks grabbed an offensive rebound following a missed free throw and got the ball to Sienknecht, who stepped up with her eventual game-winner with 23 seconds left.

“I was telling the girls all night to get the ball in and out faster before the defense could crash on them,” Sienknecht said. “I just wanted to throw it up there and hopefully not go to overtime.”

North Tama senior Adelyn Sienknecht (22) shoots a 3-pointer over Meskwaki defender Sia Bear during the first half of last Thursday’s regional basketball game at Meskwaki Settlement School. Sienknecht made seven 3-pointers and finished with 23 points in the Redhawks’ 50-46 win. PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER

Meskwaki’s attempt in response to close the gap was off the mark, and Ava Breakenridge added a free throw for insurance.

Sienknecht finished with a game-high 23 points and Breakenridge had 13 for the Redhawks. It was North Tama’s first regional win since 2019.

“The last few games, she’s been on fire, hitting great outside shots,” North Tama coach Harold Youngblut said of Sienknecht. “And for her as a senior to step up and do that, I couldn’t be happier for her.”

Thursday was quite the reversal of fortune for the Redhawks, who nearly two weeks prior had been blown out by Meskwaki, 64-34.

Youngblut said a big factor in North Tama turning the tables was playing tighter defense on Sia Bear, the Meskwaki senior averaging nearly 10 points per game for the Warriors.

“She’s a fabulous player,” Youngblut said. “Great inside movements and outside shots. Izzy Hallett and Jamie Jacobs did a great job defending her and that was the difference in the game.”

Bear finished with 11 points. Sade Kapayou led the Warriors with 16 points.

Youngblut also praised Kinsley Even stepping in with a regular starter out with the flu: “I thought she played a great game, and that was huge for us tonight.”

While it wasn’t a perfect effort, North Tama was able to neutralize Meskwaki’s speed on Thursday. The Warriors streaked out with the first nine points of the second half, but North Tama finished the third quarter on a 14-3 run and never trailed again.

Kapayou hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 46-all, but Even got to the line for two free throw attempts on the other end that set the final pivotal sequence into play.

“They’re faster than us, so we had to take care of the ball and make snappy passes,” Sienknecht said. “… We just had to work hard on defense and offense.”

The second round of regionals is uncharted territory for this year’s senior class, but the Redhawks look ready to take it head on.

“We had to be able to move the ball quickly to get open shots and they did a good job tonight doing that,” Youngblut said. “They were talking with each other and making sure the ball was being distributed quickly.”

Tonight, Tuesday, Feb. 13, the girls will face HLV (10-9) on the road in a Class 1A Region 2 quarterfinal.