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Norse girls finish perfect run through the HOIC: R-S downs West Marshall to finish 11-0

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

Roland-Story head girls’ basketball coach Justin Morton was not happy as the third quarter came to a close during his team’s game with West Marshall to close out the regular season Tuesday. 

The Norse, ranked ninth in Class 3A, were clinging to a 24-22 lead in the final seconds when Regan Barkema flung up a shot from near half-court. The problem was there were still five seconds on the clock. 

Madison Martindale got the rebound and put up another shot, but it was off the mark. 

The poor execution to end the quarter made Morton livid. He lit into his players on the bench as they were preparing for the start of the fourth quarter. 

“He talked about how that doesn’t define us,” Barkema said. “He talked about who wanted to win that game more.”  

Within the first 40 seconds of the fourth quarter, Morton had an answer as to who wanted to win more: Roland-Story. 

The Norsemen responded to their coach’s passionate talk with two three-point plays within seconds of each other to start the fourth quarter. They got a third three-point play later in the quarter and ended up going on a 17-0 run to cruise to a 39-28 victory. 

Roland-Story's Madi Bauer gets ready to put up a shot against West Marshall's Kikki Pfantz during the third quarter of the Norse's 39-28 victory over the Trojans Tuesday in Story City. Bauer converted a huge three-point play to start the fourth quarter and ignite a strong finish by the Norse.

Madi Bauer sparked the big fourth quarter for Roland-Story. She drove by a West Marshall defender, drew contact from another Trojan flying in at her and still managed to muscle up a shot that went in the hoop. 

“I knew I needed to bring some energy to the court,” Bauer said. “I knew what I had to do.” 

Barkema went right up to Bauer after the ball went in and screamed words of encouragement to her teammate.  

“I got a little excited,” Barkema said. “That was huge for us at that point in time. That put us up five and really started our momentum.” 

Bauer made the free throw. West Marshall tried to inbound the ball, but Norse guard Reece Johnson immediately stole the ball and put up a shot. 

Just like Bauer, she converted and drew contact. Johnson also made her free throw and suddenly Roland-Story was up by eight. 

The lead eventually grew to 15 before West Marshall finally scored its first points of the fourth quarter – nearly seven minutes into the quarter. The Norse held West Marshall’s Katy Reyerson, the conference’s leading scorer at 20 points per game, to just five points. 

“I give a lot of credit to Maddie (Morton),” Barkema said. “She did a fantastic job guarding her. The rest of us helped out a little bit, but she put most of the pressure on her. We held a really good player to five points. That speaks volumes about our team defense.” 

On offense, balance was the name of the game for the Norse. 

Barkema ended up with 10 points, Jadyn Nelson nine and Morton seven. Johnson and Grady finished with five apiece and Bauer scored three. 

Roland-Story's Madeline Morton scored seven points and helped hold West Marshall's Katy Reyerson (44) to five points in a 39-28 Norse victory over the Trojans Tuesday in Story City. Reyerson was averaging 20 points entering the game.

Roland-Story improved to 14-4 overall and finished 11-0 in the conference. After getting blown out by Ballard and Gilbert at the start of the season then missing two weeks due to quarantine, winning the conference felt extra sweet to Roland-Story this season. 

“We put so much into this year,” Johnson said. “Especially with the challenges we faced with COVID. There were a lot of excuses we could make, but I feel like we really pushed through it and gave it our all.” 

Roland-Story opens 3A regional play this Saturday against conference rival Saydel. The Norse host the Eagles in the regional quarterfinals and the game is set to start at 7 p.m.