What we learned from Nevada's basketball sweep of Saydel, South Hamilton: Girls fall to NP

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Nevada's Emma Strottman and Lucy Schaffer fight for a rebound during the Cubs' 50-21 loss to the No. 5 Comets Dec. 16 at the Nevada High School Field House.

The Nevada girls basketball team earned Heart of Iowa Conference victories and hung around with No. 5 (Class 4A) North Polk for a little while before coming up short and the Cub boys swept Saydel and South Hamilton this past week.

The Nevada girls took down Saydel in a 68-23 rout and the boys blasted the Eagles by a 68-27 score Friday at the Nevada High School Field House. The girls handed South Hamilton a 52-44 loss and the boys outlasted the Hawks by a 57-47 margin Dec. 14 at Jewell.

The Cub girls also suffered 50-21 loss to North Polk Dec. 16 at Nevada. 

"That's a good 4A school," Nevada head girls coach Jordan Bentley said of North Polk. "They're probably every bit deserving of the ranking that they have. You're proud of the effort, but in the end they kind of wore us out."

The victory over Saydel put the Nevada girls at 5-4 overall and 4-3 in the Heart of Iowa Conference. Following its two conference wins the Cub boys improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference.

Here is what we learned from the Cubs' week of basketball:

Girls hold their own

The Nevada girls did their job defensively for the most part in all three games last week.

The Cubs were tough defensively for the first three quarters against South Hamilton. They sputtered a bit in the fourth quarter, giving up 17 points over the final eight minutes, but were able to easily withstand that small breakdown thanks to a 13-point cushion going into the quarter.

Nevada also held its own against on defense against North Polk.

North Polk came into the game with three players scoring double figures per game. Lucy Schaffer averaged 15.5 points, Mikayla Boatman 15.1 and Liza Schaffer 12.1.

Boatman did go off for 21 against the Cubs ...

But Lucy Schaffer was held to nine points and Liza only scored two.

"You're proud of the fact that we kept working and the defense we played," Bentley said. "We did a nice job and executed our game plan. We did what we could do."

Nevada's Alexandria Arnaud puts up a shot in the lane over North Polk's Liza Schaffer during the first half of the Cubs' 50-21 loss to the No. 5 team in Class 4A Dec. 16 at the Nevada High School Field House. Arnaud later provided the game's biggest highlight when she made a shot from near midcourt at the end of the first half.

The only big draw back for Nevada on defense came after the rare occasions the Cubs were able to put the ball in the basket on offense.

"We probably gave up too many transition buckets that we didn't want to," Bentley said. 

The Cub girls played fantastic defense down the stretch in the victory over Saydel. They outscored the Eagles 21-1 in the fourth quarter.

Offense still needs work

Nevada still needs to make some big strides on offense against elite defenses. The Cubs could get nothing going against North Polk.

Nevada only had 10 points in the first half. It took a Bridget Cahill 3-pointer at the end of the game to get the Cub point total above 20.

"The looks that we got were good looks," Bentley said. "It's just you've got to knock down a couple of shots consecutively to let your defense get set back up."

Nevada did have more success on offense against South Hamilton and Saydel.

The Cub girls struggled from the foul line (12 of 30), but shot at a solid 43 % clip from the field against South Hamilton. They shot 44 % in the win over Saydel.

Dunham keeps playing hard

Maddie Dunham continued to play at a high level in the post for Nevada.

North Polk made life difficult for every Cub player on offense. But Dunham still managed to put up eight points and she was aggressive on the glass, finishing with five rebounds.

"We knew it was going to be a top team in 4A, so I knew I had to go out strong and be gritty," Dunham said. "That's what coach says — be gritty, take care of the basketball and be strong."

Dunham also had nine points, 11 rebounds and three assists against South Hamilton. She went off for 19 points and added five boards against Saydel.

Shelbi Hazlitt finished with 16 points and seven rebounds against Saydel, eight points and five boards versus South Hamilton and four points and seven rebounds against North Polk. Bridget Cahill scored 12 points against South Hamilton and 11 versus Saydel, Alexandria Arnaud tallied 11 points against South Hamilton and seven steals and five assists versus Saydel.

Emma Strottman chipped in 11 points and five boards agnst Saydel.

Cub boys finish strong

When it mattered most, the Nevada boys executed to near perfection against both South Hamilton and Saydel.

The Cub boys outscored South Hamilton 30-19 in the second half after trailing by one at the break. Nevada finished with a 36-21 rebounding advantage and only committed 11 turnovers in the victory.

Nevada completely blew Saydel away in the second half. The Cubs outscored the Eagles 40-9 over the final two quarters.

The Cub boys posted a huge 50-28 advantage on the glass and 16-6 edge in the turnover battle against Saydel. They also made 13 3-pointers and held the Eagles to 22 % shooting.

Grant is productive

Versatile Nevada forward Spencer Grant was the most consistent performer over the two games for the Nevada boys.

Spencer Grant

Grant went for 10 points, 11 rebounds and four assists against South Hamilton. He posted 12 points, six rebounds and five assists in the victory over Saydel.

James Edwards also played at a high level both games. Edwards tallied 18 points, 11 rebounds and three assists versus South Hamilton and seven points, 14 rebounds, five assists and four steals in the win over Saydel.

Ty Dittmer had 15 points and three assists and Jacob Khounsourath nine points against Saydel. Carson Rhodes finished with 11 points and Dittmer eight in the win over South Hamilton.