Colo-NESCO had challenging season during final run for Coach Cafferty: Young Royals won six games
Legendary Colo-NESCO head girls basketball coach Wayne Cafferty endured a challenging final season at the helm of the Royal program in 2021-2022.
Cafferty retired at the end of the season having led Colo-NESCO to 549 victories and five state tournament appearances in 26 years.
His final team was a young squad that had to replace three starters off of last year's 11-9 team. The end result was a 6-17 season, the first Royal team with a losing record since 2010.
"We were very limited in our skills, athleticism and experience," Cafferty said. "Our fundamentals aren’t where they should be for a high school team. That made it very difficult for us to break a press or score."
Colo-NESCO fell to Class 3A power West Marshall (64-9), Lynnville-Sully (55-33) and eventual Iowa Star Conference South Division champion Baxter (61-22) in its first three games. The Royals picked up their first victory Dec. 3 with a 51-14 conference win over Valley Lutheran at Colo.
Colo-NESCO went into Christmas break on a six-game losing streak after suffering losses to Riceville (50-12), Martensdale St. Marys (63-8), Meskwaki (56-34), North Tama (34-20), GMG (39-26) and Collins-Maxwell (72-4).
After the break Colo-NESCO started to figure some things out and had its best stretch of the season.
The Royals defeated Don Bosco (39-9) and BGM (43-20) in their first two games back from the break. After a 57-21 loss to Baxter the Royals completed a season sweep of Valley Lutheran with a 58-30 victory.
Colo-NESCO closed out January with losses to Meskwaki (68-28), North Tama (44-27), GMG (42-28) and BCLUW (46-24). The Royals fell to Collins-Maxwell in the first game of February, 51-22, but came back to win two of their final three games of the regular season.
The Royals defeated Janesville, 36-35, Feb. 3 and Melcher-Dallas, 40-34, Feb. 5 in the last two home games of Cafferty's career.
"The come from behind victory vs Janesville and the win over Melcher Dallas were our biggest highlights," Cafferty said.
They suffered a 48-14 loss at AGWSR in their final game of the regular season then lost to Baxter in the 1A regional first round, 53-7.
Cafferty said breaking the press and scoring were Colo-NESCO's two biggest flaws. The Royals only averaged 27.2 points and shot 24.7 % from the field as a team and they averaged 28 turnovers per game.
Cafferty said the team could be solid defensively when it was at the top of its game. The Royals allowed 45 points per game.
"We were able to do a decent job in our half-court defense when we were able to get back and get set up," Cafferty said. "We had some success slowing some opponents down with a box-and-one or triangle-and-two."
Senior guard Izabell Voelker led Colo-NESCO in scoring at 9.2 points per game. She also averaged 3.8 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 1.4 assists.
Junior forward Sophia Piziali averaged 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds. Senior forward Shelby Perisho averaged 3.6 points and 2.2 rebounds and junior Callie Kohlwes 3.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.3 assists.
Sophomore Sydney Ingle and junior Abigail Hostetler averaged 2.6 and 2.5 points respectively. Ingle also averaged 4.3 rebounds and Hostetler 2.7 boards.
Junior Riley Handsaker averaged 1.8 points and 4.7 rebounds. Sophomore Gemma Bower tallied 1.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1 assist per game.
Seniors Taylor Cox and Hannah Jamison, junior Jessica Duran and freshman Molly Angell also contributed at the varsity level.
"We had a good senior class," Cafferty said. "They'll miss Izzy's shooting ability next year."
Though he won't be returning next year, Cafferty wishes the best for the girls returning for 2022-2023.
"The girls are going to have to put some work in on their fundamentals in the off season in order to have some success next season," Cafferty said.