What we learned from Roland-Story's basketball doubleheader sweeps over Nevada and Perry
The Roland-Story basketball programs swept Nevada and Perry in a pair of Heart of Iowa Conference doubleheaders last week to remain tied atop the conference standings.
The Roland-Story girls, ranked 12th in Class 3A, improved to 3-0 in the Heart of Iowa Conference and 3-1 overall with a convincing 62-25 victory over Nevada in Story City Dec. 7 and a 61-24 triumph at Perry Friday. The Norse boys remained perfect on the season at 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the conference after outlasting Nevada, 68-59, and crushing Perry, 55-29.
Stats were not available for the Roland-Story girls' game versus Perry at press time.
Here is what we learned from the two impressive sweeps by Roland-Story:
Roland-Story boys show great poise
The Roland-Story boys showed why they are the defending HOIC champions against Nevada.
Nevada cut a 15-point Roland-Story lead clear down to 65-59 on a Colin Memmer 3-pointer in the final minute of the fourth quarter. But Roland-Story didn't blink.
Boaz Clark, Kale Lande and Jonovan Wilkinson combined to hit 4 of 6 free throws and, more importantly, the Norsemen clamped down on defense in the final seconds to put the game away.
"Now we're 2-0 in the conference," Wilkinson said. "It feels good. We've got three games next week. It's going to be tough, but if we play like we did tonight I think we'll win them all."
Bunn and Greenfield step up
Wilkinson and Isaiah Naylor have been the go-to players for Roland-Story thus far. They both scored 14 points against Nevada.
But other players have started to emerge as dangerous weapons capable of burning opposing teams. Will Bunn and Ben Greenfield did just that against Nevada. Bunn went for 13 points. He gave the team a big spark in the third quarter with 9 points.
"I had a lot of guys supporting me and getting me the ball," Bunn said. "We just play really hard together and it all meshes together well."
Greenfield was huge off the bench. He finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
"It's great when you put on this jersey," Greenfield said. "The support of the crowd and my teammates feels great."
Bunn added nine points and Greenfield five in the win over Perry.
R-S boys jump all over Perry early
The Roland-Story boys put Perry away by halftime. The Norsemen led 24-7 after one quarter and 42-10 at the half before going on cruise control over the final two quarters.
Roland-Story shot 47 % and held Perry to 30 % shooting from the field. The Norsemen held a 32-22 rebounding advantage and only committed nine turnovers.
Naylor went for 18 points and four steals in the victory over Perry. Wilkinson added eight points, four assists and three steals, Luke Patton four points and five rebounds and Dillon Lettow five boards.
Norse girls make a statement
Nevada opened the season ranked 15th in 3A. The Cubs fell out of the rankings after the first week, but still looked tough entering Tuesday's game with a 3-1 record.
But Roland-Story left no doubt it intends to defend its conference championship. The Norse pressure defense suffocated the Cubs all game long as Roland-Story built a 35-7 lead at the half and coasted to the decisive victory.
"Once we got the ball in transition, we made a lot of good decisions and good shots," Roland-Story guard Madi Bauer said. "That helped us a lot."
Bauer was sensational in the first half for Roland-Story. She scored all of her game-high 14 points over the first two quarters to help the Norse build their big halftime lead.
"She played so well tonight," Roland-Story all-state forward Reagan Barkema said. "Whenever she shot the ball, I knew it was going in. She picked up all of us and kept our run going."
Bauer hit her first field goal with 5:09 left in the second quarter. She then drained four consecutive 3-pointers over the next 90 seconds to break the game open.
"I kind of came out and played like crap and that made me mad," Bauer said. "Once I got a streak going, it really helped."
Lande leaves her mark
Roland-Story dominated the game despite Barkema being held to 9 points.
Reece Johnson, the other battled-tested senior starter, went for 12 points and senior post Madison Geise added 8 to help make up the difference. But along with Bauer, it was freshman Kamryn Lande that really stood out for Roland-Story Tuesday.
"Kam is super-aggressive," Barkema said. "She tries to one-up me sometimes, which she did."
Lande scored 8 points.
"Reagan is competitive, so it makes me want to be competitive with her," Lande said. "(But) she's always uplifting everyone."
All of Lande's points came in the first half as she hit two 3-pointers and scored one basket off a steal.
"It's pretty nice," Lande said. "I was a little nervous, but I had all these teammates to help me."