The Colo-NESCO girls’ basketball team needed a couple games to find its footing, but once the Royals got going it was business as usual in 2019-2020.

Colo-NESCO claimed its eighth-consecutive conference title by winning the Iowa Star Conference South Division with an 11-1 record. The Royals finished 18-6 overall and reached the Class 1A regional semifinals.

The Royals did this despite having to replace all-state guard Faith Vincent off last year’s team and having three of its top players battling injuries during the season. Senior forward Rylee Purvis battled a broken foot and a shoulder injury, senior point guard Lauryn Hill was recovering from surgery on her wrist and senior forward Emmy Hostetler missed the first couple weeks of the season with a broken finger.

“We battled injuries and sickness from the start,” Colo-NESCO head coach Wayne Cafferty said. “It really hurt our ability to improve over the course of the season. We still were able to capture the Iowa Star South Championship, but definitely didn’t play our best ball at the end of the season.”

Colo-NESCO dropped its first two games, falling at West Marshall by a 59-32 score and dropping a 52-49 battle with Collins-Maxwell - it’s only conference loss on the season. But then the Royals got hot, reeling off nine consecutive victories and picking up 16 wins over a 17-game stretch.

A 53-38 victory over Dunkerton started Colo-NESCO on its big roll. The Royals followed that with wins over Martensdale St. Marys (60-56), GMG (60-21), North Tama (60-40), Meskwaki (70-30) a previously unbeaten Clarksville team (60-56), Tripoli (69-47) and Baxter (51-48).

The Royals capped their run by avenging the loss to Collins-Maxwell, 58-55 triumph. BCLUW prevented Colo-NESCO from making it 10 wins in a row with a 49-48 victory over the Royals on Jan. 20. But Colo-NESCO bounced right back to win its next six games.

Colo-NESCO defeated GMG (58-27), BGM (58-42), North Tama (62-33) and Meskwaki (59-35). The Royals also swept Valley Lutheran by scores of 58-10 and 69-14 and they ended the run with a 42-25 win over Baxter.

A Roland-Story team rated in the top five of Class 3A ended Colo-NESCO’s winning streak by handing the Royals a 60-22 loss Feb. 8. The Royals concluded the regular season with a 47-44 loss to AGWSR.

Colo-NESCO opened 1A regional play with a 74-42 victory over North Tama on Feb. 13. Five days later the Royals whipped Dunkerton in the quarterfinals, 44-27.

Colo-NESCO faced off against East Buchanan in the regional semifinals. The Royals never got going on offense, falling by a 38-20 score to end the season.

For the season Colo-NESCO averaged 53.4 points shooting 38.6 percent from the field, 26.4 percent from 3-point range and 54.1 percent from the line. The Royals made 113 3-pointers and averaged 12.7 assists against 16.3 turnovers.

On defense Colo-NESCO gave up 39.5 points per game.

“We had a balanced attack with a number of different scorers scoring double figures over the course of the season,” Cafferty said. “Our half court man defense improved the most over the course of the season.”

Rebounding was Colo-NESCO’s biggest weakness. The Royals averaged 32.7 rebounds per game.

“No matter how much we worked on it, we struggled rebounding all year,” Cafferty said.

Despite their injury issues Hill and Purvis did a great job leading Colo-NESCO. Hill was named the ISC South Division MVP and Purvis was named to the all-South Division first team.

Hill averaged 10.5 points, 4.7 assists, 3.8 steals and 3.3 rebounds. She shot 53 percent from the field and 61 percent from the line.

Purvis led Colo-NESCO in scoring and rebounding at 11.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. She made a team-high 44 3-pointers and also averaged 2.5 steals.

Senior center Emma Stalzer made the all-South Division second team. She averaged 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds and shot 50 percent from the field.

Junior guard Ayvarie Bappe was named to the South Division second team. She hit 43 3-pointers and averaged 7.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

Hostetler put up 2.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. Senior forward Gracie Kettwig averaged 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds and senior Megan Carlson added 3.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

Juniors McKenzie Niemeyer and Jenna Banks were also regular contributors for Colo-NESCO. Niemeyer averaged 2.1 points and 2.3 rebounds and Banks 1.5 points and 1.1 rebounds.

Senior Emily Brinkman, junior Emma Wilson 14, sophomore Izabell Voelker 11 and senior Allie Britten 10.

Colo-NESCO loses eight seniors.

“We will miss Lauryn’s energy, explosiveness, and leadership; Rylee’s scoring and rebounding. Emma’s presence in the middle at 6-3 and Gracie’s physical play off the bench at both ends of the court,” Cafferty said. “We will also miss Emily’s Hosteter’s defense and rebounding. Megan doing all the little things and.Allie and Emily’s team spirit.”

With Niemeyer also recovering from an ACL injury suffered toward the end of the season the Royals will have a lot of rebuilding to do for 2020-2021.