ALLEMAN - Defense and dominance in the low post keyed a 42-29 victory by the Nevada girls’ basketball team over North Polk in a pivotal Heart of Iowa Conference matchup to start conference play Friday in Alleman.
The Cubs are ranked 10th in Class 3A and are the four-time defending HOIC champions. But North Polk entered the game 4-0, having just defeated a Pella team ranked 10th in 4A.
Nevada knew it had to find ways to get the ball inside to all-state center Lexy Koudelka — despite constant double- and triple-teaming from North Polk. The Cubs also had to tough up defensively to make sure the Comets didn’t burn them from outside.
By the end of the night, Nevada had successfully accomplished both goals to take a big first step toward winning another conference title.
“It’s a pretty good start, I’d say,” Koudelka said. “It really helped us show our toughness.”
Koudelka was coming off a school-record 40 point outing three nights earlier at Grand View Christian. She faced mainly man defense in that game, but North Polk dropped down multiple defenders to try and slow her down.
The Comets executed their strategy well and also received a great effort from center Jaedon Murphy on defense. But despite all that, Koudelka still put up 20 and 15 rebounds.
“It’s really good for me to have to finish strong through contact and have good defenders defending me,” Koudelka said. “It only helps for the future.”
Koudelka made 7 of 9 shots from the field. She also came away with four blocks and three steals.
As a team, Nevada shot 45 percent from the field (15 of 33) and made 10 of 18 free throws.
Kacie Rewerts did a nice job complementing Koudelka on the wing. She constantly gave the Comets fits by racing down the court, possession after possession, and taking advantage of her tall, athletic frame to create mismatches.
“It’s a lot of work, and I’m sick right now so it’s a little hard,” Rewerts said of running up and down the court. “In practice we condition a lot and they can always get the ball out fast.”
Rewerts finished with seven points. She also did a great job seeing over the defense to get Koudelka good looks, tallying five assists on the night.
“I like to see (Koudelka and Hattie Rhodes) down there and then them shooting the basket,” Rewerts said. “I think that having an assist is better than points.”
Rewerts’ older sister Kelby hit Nevada’s only two 3-pointers of the game, finishing with six points and five rebounds. Amanda Fortmann had five points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals; Rhodes pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out four assists and Riley Mailey came off the bench to score four points.
As strong as Nevada was inside on offense, it was defense that made the difference.
North Polk led 8-5 after one quarter. But Nevada held the Comets to two points in the second quarter, building an 11-point lead.
Two baskets from Murphy, plus four free throws, pulled North Polk within 21-18 midway through the third quarter. But the Cubs pushed their lead back to nine early in the fourth quarter and never let North Polk get closer than seven the rest of the way.
North Polk only made 18 percent of its shots (10 of 55). The Comets were especially cold from the perimeter, converting only 2 of 22 3-pointers.
Murphy recorded 13 points, 11 rebounds and one block in a gutsy effort before going down with an injury late in the game. Leading Comet scorer Maggie Phipps had nine points, seven rebounds, two steals and one block and Carolyn Steffen finished with five points and four rebounds off the bench.
Nevada improved to 2-1 overall within the win. North Polk dropped to 4-1.
Nevada 42, North Polk 29
N 5 16 7 14 - 42
NP 8 2 11 8 - 29
Nevada (42) - Amanda Fortmann 2-7 1-6 5, Lexy Koudelka 7-9 6-8 20, Kelby Rewerts 2-3 0-0 6, Kacie Rewerts 3-8 1-2 7, Hattie Rhodes 0-3 0-0 0, Riley Mailey 1-3 2-2 4. Totals: 15-33 10-18 42. 3-point field goals (2): Ke. Rewerts 2. Rebounds (38): Koudelka 15. Assists (13): Ka. Rewerts 5. Steals (8): Koudelka 3. Blocks (6): Koudelka 4. Fouls: 10.
North Polk (29) - Rebecca Ley 0-3 0-0 0, Katie Scott 0-5 0-2 0, Abi Zimmer 1-5 0-0 2, Danielle Bonewitz 0-2 0-0, Katie Brown 0-10 0-0 0, Jaedon Murphy 5-9 3-6 13, Hannah Foster 0-2 0-0 0, Carolyn Steffen 2-4 1-2 5, Maggie Phipps 2-13 3-4 9, Maddie Bruggeman 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 10-55 7-14 29. 3-point field goals (2): Phipps 2. Rebounds (36): Murphy 11. Steals (12): Brown 3. Blocks (3): Brown, Murphy, Phipps. Fouls: 17.
DES MOINES - A record-setting night from all-state post Lexy Koudelka helped Nevada roll past Grand View Christian, 71-35, Tuesday in Des Moines.
Koudelka set the Nevada single-game scoring mark of 40, breaking the previous mark of 38 set by Natalie Tendall. Koudelka was so overpowering that she did all her damage in just three quarters before getting a rest as the Cubs cruised to victory.
Koudelka made 17 of 25 field goals. She was also a huge force on the boards, ripping down an impressive 20 rebounds to produce a rare 20-20 performance.
Kacie Rewerts also had a big game for Nevada. Rewerts was a perfect 7 of 7 from the field and she ended up with 15 points, five assists, three rebounds and one steal.
Hattie Rhodes delivered two points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals and Amanda Fortmann tallied four points, assists and steals apiece. Kelby Rewerts added two points and six assists and Grace Francis and Riley Mailey each netted four points.
Nevada 71, Grand View Christian 35
N 23 21 19 8 - 71
GVC 12 7 12 4 - 35
Nevada (71) - Mikayla Long 0-0 0-0 0, Amanda Fortmann 1-2 2-2 4, Lexy Koudelka 17-25 6-15 40, Kelby Rewerts 1-2 0-0 2, Amelea Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Elizabeth Wessels 0-0 0-0 0, Kacie Rewerts 7-7 1-3 15, Caroline Ausman 0-0 0-0 0, Hattie Rhodes 1-4 0-0 2, Riley Mailey 1-3 2-2 4, Grace Francis 1-3 2-3 4. Totals: 29-47 13-25 71. 3-point field goals: None. Rebounds (38): Koudelka 20. Assists (23): Ke. Rewerts 6. Steals (11): Fortmann 4, Rhodes 4. Blocks (4): Koudelka 2. Fouls: 11.