R-S boys sweep, girls split first two games: What we learned from opening week of Norse basketball

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Roland-Story's Isaiah Naylor goes up for a layup between Gilbert's Alex Ruba (left) and Justin Terry during a 57-45 victory by the Norsemen over the Tigers Dec. 2 at Gilbert. Naylor had 14 points in the win.

The Roland-Story boys' basketball team cruised to two decisive victories and the Norse girls split their first two games of the 2021-2022 season.

The boys scored a 57-45 victory over Gilbert to open the season Nov. 30 at Gilbert. They followed that with a convincing 67-43 victory over Greene County Friday in their home opener.

The Norse girls, ranked 11th in Class 3A, opened the Maddie Gelber era falling to 4A rival Gilbert by a 65-50 score at Gilbert. They rebounded to give Gelber her first win in a decisive manner, crushing Greene County in their home opener by a 90-13 margin.

Here is what we learned from the opening week for the Roland-Story basketball teams:

Naylor delivers for Roland-Story boys

The Roland-Story boys enter the 2021-2022 season coming off a Heart of Iowa Conference championship. They lost some key contributors from that team, most notably Sam Skaar, Aam McIlrath and Nolan Faber.

But several young players also made things go for last year's conference champions. On Tuesday junior guard Isaiah Naylor showed he's ready to step up to a more prominent role by scoring a team-high 14 points and adding four steals.

"I just wanted to step up this year," Naylor said. "I was working every day in the summer and got in some AAU camps."

Naylor also had 11 points and four rebounds against Greene County.

Norsemen crash the boards

With Naylor and sophomore Jonovan Wilkinson (13 points) constantly slashing toward the hoop on drives they were able to draw a lot of help defense on them throughout the night against Gilbert. 

That opened things up on the offensive glass and Roland-Story took full advantage. The Norsemen ended the game with 37 rebounds and 11 of those came on the offensive end of the court.

"I thought Gilbert played extremely hard and that zone (defense) was just giving us fits in the first half, but I just love the effort and the focus our kids gave the second half," Roland-Story head coach Darrin Berggren said. "Our kids really crashed the boards hard. I thought Luke (Patton) did an extremely good job the second half and Kale (Lande) works extremely hard too."

Patton pulled down 16 rebounds, including six offensive boards. He also had seven points, three blocks and three assists.

Lande had four rebounds and Wilkinson chipped in seven boards and four assists.

Roland-Story also outrebounded Greene County by a 38-20 margin. Patton was again huge, going for 19 points and 10 boards versus the Rams.

Wilkinson added 17 points and five rebounds versus Greene County. Brent Greenfield chipped in eight points and three rebounds Will Bunn seven rebounds and Lande five boards.

Tale of two halves for girls vs Gilbert

The Roland-Story girls had a tremendous first half against Gilbert. The Norse led 42-34 early in the third quarter then went ice cold, scoring only eight points the rest of the game.

Roland-Story's Reece Johnson (30) and Gilbert's Alexandra Harswick battle or a rebound in the first quarter during the No. 11 (3A) Norse's 65-50 loss to the Tigers Dec. 2 at Gilbert.

All-state guard Reagan Barkema had 25 points and seven rebounds in a losing effort. The Bradley recruit went up against All-Iowa Attack teammate and Drake recruit Ava Hawthorne, who scored a game-high 29 points.

"Ava's been my teammate for a long time and it's hard when you're playing against her," Barkema said. "You know everything she does when she's playing with you, but when you're playing against her it's hard because she's a great player and it's hard to guard her and get a stop. She went off tonight."

Madison Geise went for nine points and three rebounds and Reece Johnson added seven points, five rebounds and four assists in the loss. Madi Bauer chipped in six points and four rebounds.

Every girl scores in rout of Rams

Roland-Story had Greene County completely overmatched Friday. The Norse led 33-3 after the first quarter to put the game away early.

As a result, Gelber was able to empty the bench. All 11 girls that played scored against Greene County.

Barkema led the way with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists. Freshman Kamryn Lande added 16 points and three steals and tallied Ali Charlson 10 points, five rebounds and three steals off the bench.

Freshman Alyssa Jones also scored 10 points and she pulled down four rebounds. Geise went for eight points, Johnson seven points and four assists, Makenna Carlson seven points and four rebounds and Bauer five points, four assists and four steals. 

Claire Truesdell tacked on four points and steals apiece and Libbie Johnson and Samantha Elsberry two points apiece.