No. 1 Cubs lose to 5A power Ankeny Centennial

Story and photos by Joe Randleman
No. 1 Cubs lose to 5A power Ankeny Centennial

ANKENY - Going up against a powerhouse larger school, the Nevada girls’ basketball team was unable to keep pace with Ankeny Centennial in a 47-30 loss to the Jaguars Saturday in Ankeny.

Nevada (3-1) entered the game ranked No. 1 in Class 3A and Ankeny Centennial was rated No. 4 in 5A. The Cubs were overwhelmed by the Jaguars early and never fully recovered, suffering their first loss of the season.

“It took us most of the first quarter to adjust to the physical play and quicker pace of a 5A team,” Nevada head coach Kristin Meyer said. “Once we settled in and executed our game plan, we were able to battle back and forth with Centennial. The coaching staff was very happy with the effort and fight that our girls showed through all 32 minutes.”

The Cubs fell behind 14-1 out of the gate. They rallied to pull to within 24-15 by halftime, but

their offense was too inconsistent in the second half to make a run at the Jaguars.

“Their pressure defense forced us into more turnovers than we would’ve liked,” Meyer said. “But when we were able to set up our offense, our girls did a nice job of executing and making shots.”

When Nevada got into its offense it was able to get good looks at the basket. The Cubs shot 52 percent from the field (12 of 23) and made 4 of 8 3-pointers.

Nevada did struggle at the line in only going 2 of 8. The Cubs also were held to two offensive rebounds.

On defense Nevada came away with seven steals and three blocks.

Kati Cassabaum had a team-high nine points and all three blocks for the Cubs. She also handed out two assists and came away with one steal.

Claire Ausman hit 2 of 3 3-pointers and 3 of 4 field goals to finish with eight points and Lexy Koudelka put up six points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals for Nevada. Abby Stephenson tacked on four points and four assists and Alli Fey chipped in three points and three steals.

Ankeny Centennial 47, Nevada 30

N 4 11 7 8 - 30

AC 14 10 11 12 - 47

Nevada (30) - Claire Ausman 3-4 0-0 8, Abby Stephenson 2-3 0-0 4, Lexy Koudelka 2-5 2-4 6, Alli Fey 1-3 0-0 3, Izzy Kapustka 0-0 0-0 0, Kati Cassabaum 4-8 0-4 9, Amaris Hornbuckle 0-0 0-0 0, Hattie Rhodes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-23 2-8 30. 3-point field goals (4): Ausman 2, Fey, Cassabaum. Rebounds (15): Koudelka 8. Assists (9): Stephenson 4. Steals (7): Fey 3. Blocks (3): Cassabaum 3.

ALLEMAN - Near-flawless execution on offense resulted in the most complete effort of the season for Nevada when the Cubs took on North Polk in Heart of Iowa Conference play Friday at Alleman.

Nevada - ranked No. 1 in Class 3A - was inconsistent on offense in wins over Boone and Collins-Maxwell-Baxter to open the season. But on Friday, the Cubs did a masterful job of attacking North Polk inside-out and that combined with with their trademark tough defense to result in an impressive 58-25 road victory.

“We’ve been preparing a lot for Ankeny Centennial, which is tomorrow, and we were just really focused to get our jobs done and it obviously happened tonight,” Nevada guard Alli Fey said. “They ran everything they could against us and we set the tone to let the (Heart of Iowa Conference) know that they can run anything against us, but they can’t stop us.”

With Lexy Koudelka dominating inside and Fey burning North Polk from the outside, Nevada built a commanding 32-12 lead at the half. In the third quarter Nevada hit its only lull of the game as the Cubs were held to two points for most of the quarter until Abby Stephenson scored off a steal and Koudelka converted a three-point play off a pass from Hattie Rhodes late in the half.

Even with its sluggish third quarter on offense, the Cubs maintained a 20-point lead going into the final period. In the fourth quarter Nevada got hot once again as Fey drained a 3-pointer, Koudelka converted two baskets - including another three-point play - and Claire Ausman drained back-to-back 3-pointers.

Fey then hit her second 3-pointer of the quarter to cap a 20-1 run that gave Nevada an insurmountable 56-20 lead.

For the game, Nevada shot 52 percent from the field (22 of 42) and made 9 of 19 3-pointers. The Cubs had 15 assists on 22 field goals as their discipline on offense gave North Polk fits.

“We’ve learned over the years that we take shots that we want and not just throw it up any more,” Fey said. “We’re patient with the ball and get the shot we want to get.”

Fey entered the season coming off a back injury suffered in volleyball. She looked in top form Friday, canning 4 of 7 3-pointers and finishing with 13 points and five assists.

“I make 3s when I’m open,” Fey said, “so it helps when they have five girls on Lexy and no one on me.”

Koudelka took advantage of her 6-1 frame to score a game-high 20 points. She made 8 of 10 field goals and also delivered nine rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

“We worked on wrap-around passes and high-lows in practice,” Koudelka said. “We’ve been doing more scrimmaging and I think it’s been letting us play more together offensively.”

Nevada’s other dominant low-post presence - senior Kati Cassabaum - was held to four points. But she pulled down six rebounds, dished out two assists and blocked three shots against the Comets.

Ausman drained 5 of 11 3-pointers and ended up with 15 points and six steals for Nevada. Stephenson had four points and five assists and Amaris Hornbuckle scored two points off the bench.

On defense Nevada held North Polk to just 32-percent shooting (10 of 31) and the Cubs outrebounded the Comets 28-13, improving to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the HOIC.

Maddy Hill had 12 points, Katryn Halterman finished with five points and one assist and Rachel Zimmermann recorded two points, five rebounds and two steals for North Polk. The loss put the Comets at 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the HOIC.

Nevada 58, North Polk 25

N 15 17 7 19 - 58

NP 2 10 7 6 - 25

Nevada (58) - Claire Ausman 5-11 0-0 15, Abby Stephenson 2-5 0-0 4, Lexy Koudelka 8-10 4-7 20, Alli Fey 4-7 1-2 13, Izzy Kapustka 0-1 0-0 0, Kati Cassabaum 2-6 0-0 4, Amaris Hornbuckle 1-1 0-0 2, Hattie Rhodes 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 22-42 5-9 58. 3-point field goals (9): Ausman 5, Fey 4.

Rebounds (28): Koudelka 9. Assists (15): Stephenson 5, Fey 5. Steals (13): Ausman 6.

Blocks (6): Koudelka 3, Cassabaum 3.

North Polk (25) - Katie Scott 0-1 0-0 0, Becca Ley 0-2 0-0 0, Maddie Bruggeman 0-0 0-0 0, Cali Capaldo 0-0 0-0 0, Danielle Bonewitz 0-2 1-2 1, Katryn Halterman 2-3 0-0 5, Maddy Hill 5-6 0-1 12, Rachel Scott 1-2 0-0 2, Riley Murphy 1-5 0-0 2, Carolyn Steffen 0-2 1-2 1, Katie Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Rachel Zimmermann 1-7 0-0 2, Sydney Albaugh 0-0 0-0 0, Leah Cam 0-0 0-0 0, Ciera McCloud 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 10-31 2-5 25. 3-point field goals (3): Hill 2, Halterman. Rebounds (13): Zimmermann 5. Assists (3): Ley, Halterman, Zimmermann. Steals (7): Brown 2, Zimmermann 2. Blocks: None.

BAXTER - Nevada simply had too much firepower for an undermanned Collins-Maxwell-Baxter team Dec. 1 at Baxter as the Cubs roughed up the Raiders by a 64-15 score in their Heart of Iowa Conference opener.

Nevada shot 53 percent from the field (27 of 51) and made more 3-pointers (7) than CMB had total field goals (5). The Cubs assisted on a remarkable 25 of 27 field goals and had 19 steals against a CMB team without two of its top players due to injury.

CMB’s only small spurt came in the first quarter, when Carter Larson scored a basket and Sydney Ziesman converted a three-point play to pull the Raiders within 7-5. But Alli Fey canned a 3-pointer, Kati Cassabaum scored two baskets inside and Claire Ausman hit two 3-pointers to push the lead to 20-6 and the Cubs were off and running.

Cassabaum and Lexy Koudelka were a nightmare for CMB inside.

Cassabaum nearly pulled off a triple-double with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and she also had three blocks. Koudelka fought through foul trouble to produce 17 points, five rebounds and two steals.

“It’s hard to double down on one post when you have two that are tall and can score,” Cassabaum said. “Once they double down on the post, you also have shooters you can kick it out to.”

Ausman, Fey and Abby Stephenson each hit two 3-pointers for Nevada. Ausman totaled six points, four assists and five steals; Fey had six points, four assists, three steals and one block and Stephenson ended up with 10 points, four assists and three steals.

Izzy Kapustka added three points and two assists; Hattie Rhodes had two points, five rebounds and three steals and Amaris Hornbuckle chipped in two points and one steal for Nevada.

On defense Nevada’s 1-3-1 zone hurt CMB. With Cassabaum at the top of the key and Koudelka bothering CMB down low, the Raiders had big problems getting off a shot all game.

“We wanted to work on our 1-3-1 and sometimes it works well on a smaller court,” Nevada head coach Kristin Meyer said. “Kati (at) 6-0, 6-1 to pass over is pretty intimidating and she’s quick enough to guard their guards. We like having Kati on top, especially if you can have Lexy in the middle. You get past our top girls, you’re running into 6-1 Lexy.”

Larson and Ziesman each finished with seven points for CMB as the Raiders fell to 0-2 both overall and in the HOIC. Larson also had eight rebounds and Ziesman finished with six rebounds and two steals.

Nevada 64, CMB 15

N 10 18 20 16 - 64

CMB 5 3 7 0 - 15

Nevada (64) - Claire Ausman 2-10 0-0 6, Abby Stephenson 4-9 0-0 10, Madison Abraham 0-0 0-0 0, Lexy Koudelka 8-10 1-7 17, Alli Fey 2-7 0-0 6, Izzy Kapustka 1-1 0-0 3, Kati Cassabaum 8-12 2-4 18, Amaris Hornbuckle 1-1 0-0 2, Hattie Rhodes 1-1 0-0 2, Grace Francis 0-0 0-0 0.

Totals: 27-51 3-11 64. 3-point field goals (7): Ausman 2, Stephenson 2, Fey 2, Kapustka. Rebounds (27): Cassabaum 9. Assists (25): Cassabaum 8. Steals (19): Ausman 5. Blocks (4): Cassabaum 3.

CMB (15) - Sailor Hinegardner 0-1 1-3 1, Heather Jessen 0-0 0-0 0, Veronica Condon 0-2 0-0 0, Sydney Ziesman 2-5 3-3 7, Megan Ritter 0-1 0-0 0, Carter Larson 3-9 0-0 7, Kathleen Baldwin 0-0 0-0 0, Elizabeth Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Josie Wierson 0-2 0-0 0, Mikayla Eslinger 0-2 0-0 0, Jordan Atwood 0-0 0-0 0.

Totals: 5-22 4-6 15.

3-point field goals (1): Larson. Rebounds (46): Larson 8. Assists (4): Hinegardner 2. Steals (4): Ziesman 2.

Blocks (1): Baldwin.