Norse girls run into buzzsaw against No. 3 Ballard: R-S struggles in opener

Joe Randleman
Story City Herald
Roland-Story guard Dani Grady drives by Ballard's Josie Fleischmann during the first half of Roland-Story's 60-28 loss to the No. 3 (4A) Bombers Nov. 24 in Story City.

STORY CITY - The Roland-Story girls’ basketball team found out it has a lot to work on to be able to hang with elite competition after a 60-28 loss to Ballard in its season opener Nov. 24.

The Norse entered the game ranked ninth in Class 3A. But Ballard, the third-ranked team in 4A, completely blew the game open after the opening tip, racing to a 39-2 lead and never looking back.

“Our inexperience in some areas showed tonight,” Roland-Story head coach Justin Morton said. “There was kind of that deer-in-the-headlights there a little bit. But that’s why we schedule these teams - so it speeds up the learning curve a little bit and we have the opportunity to get better.”

Roland-Story had inexperience in the backcourt with the loss of all-conference point guard Juliann Clark along with Kyle Tjernagle. The Norse struggled against Ballard’s pressure, finishing with 19 turnovers to just nine for Ballard.

The Norse also shot just 30 percent from the field and they gave up nine 3-pointers.

There was a silver lining in the loss. Roland-Story outplayed Ballard in the second half, outscoring the Bombers 20-16 over the final two quarters.

“Was I upset after the first half? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t furious,” Morton said. “But it’s not because of effort - it’s just a lack of confidence and learning how to play the game a certain way. With that part I just need to be patient with it and we’ll get there.”

With the inexperience at key spots Morton said the key to figuring things out will be keeping things simple.

“We’ve thinned out our playbook,” “The last two years I’ve had everybody back and it was autopilot. This year is not so much like that and that’s fine. We’re having to do things a little bit differently and find out who can do what. I’m confident that when we need to be at our best to get to where we want to go we’ll be doing that.”

Bradley verbal commit Reagan Barkema had 12 points, five rebounds and one steal and Reece Johnson six points and two assists. Dani Grady, Jadyn Nelson and Madi Bauer chipped in three points apiece and Nelson also had two rebounds and one block.

Roland-Story's Jadyn Nelson tries to power past Ballard's Cassidy Thompson on a drive during the third quarter of the Norse's 60-28 loss to the Bombers Nov. 24 in Story City.

Ballard improved to 2-0. Molly Ihle paced the Bombers with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Josie Fleischmann added 10 points and Brooke Loewe eight points, six steals and four assists for the Bombers. Cassidy Thompson chipped in eight points and one block.

Ballard 60, Roland-Story 28

B       22   22   11    5 - 60

RS      2     6    11    9 - 28

Ballard (60) - Brooke Loewe 3-9 0-0 8, Meg Rietz 2-5 0-0 5, Cassidy Thompson 2-3 4-4 8, Josie Fleischmann 4-5 0-0 10, Molly Ihle 5-8 1-2 13, Paityn Noe 0-1 0-0 0, Kylie Rigby 2-6 0-0 5, Lily Beall 0-0 0-0 0, Sydney Briggs 1-2 0-0 2, Paige Noe 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Wuestenberg 2-5 0-0 4, Lily Hillebrand 2-5 0-0 5. Totals: 23-49 5-8 60. 3-point field goals (9): Loewe 2, Fleischmann 2, Ihle 2, Rietz, Rigby, Hillebrand. Rebounds (28): Rietz 7, Ihle 7. Assists (15): Loewe 4, Ihle 4. Steals (12): Loewe 6. Blocks (1): Thompson. Fouls: 11.



Roland-Story (28) - Reagan Barkema 4-7 2-2 12, Reece Johnson 2-5 0-0 6, Madi Bauer 1-1 0-0 3, Jadyn Nelson 1-3 1-4 3, Madison Geise 0-3 1-2 1, Ava Charlson 0-1 0-0 0, Ellie Erickson 0-0 0-0 0, Dani Grady 1-3 1-1 3, Elizabeth Ihle 0-1 0-0 0, Madeline Morton 0-3 0-0 0, Jordyn Ramus 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 9-30 5-9 28. 3-point field goals (5): Barkema 2, Johnson 2, Bauer. Rebounds (19): Barkema 5. Assists (5): Johnson 2. Steals (4): Barkema, Johnson, Nelson, Ramus. Blocks (2): Nelson, Morton. Fouls: 9.