What we learned from Ames basketball doubleheader with Marshalltown

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

The Ames boys basketball team started its post-Christmas slate with a CIML Iowa Conference victory over Marshalltown on Tuesday at Ames.

The boys, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, used a big first half to pull off a 65-48 victory over the Bobcats. The win put Ames at 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the CIML Iowa.

Ames' Tamin Lipsey goes by Marshalltown's Dalen Huston for a layup during the fourth quarter of the No. 1 Little Cyclones' 65-48 victory over the Bobcats Tuesday the at Ames High gym.

The Little Cyclone girls gave their best performance of the year but came up short. The girls suffered a 36-24 loss in falling to 0-10 and 0-5 in the conference.

Here is what we learned from the first Little Cyclone basketball doubleheader of 2022:

Boys start strong

The Ames boys showed no rust from the holiday break in the first half.

The Little Cyclones started the game on a 19-7 run. By halftime they held a 41-23 lead to put the game away early.

"We had a great first half of basketball," Ames head boys coach Vance Downs said. "The kids tried hard. It's always good to get a league win."

Boys need more consistency

Even though the boys dominated, they were far from perfect. Marshalltown outscored the Little Cyclones 25-24 over the final two quarters.

"Unfortunately, we had 35% loss of ball in the second half," Downs said. "We need to guard better than we did tonight."

Ames entered the game as the top defensive team in 5A. The Little Cyclones were giving up only 42.8 points per game and just 41.2 against Iowa teams.

But they had a tough time slowing down Marshalltown's Armonnie Thomas. Thomas went for a game-high 29 points, scoring 15 in the first half and 14 over the final two quarters.

Balance keys victory

The Ames boys countered Thomas' big night with strong balance.

Three Little Cyclones scored in double figures. Iowa State recruit Tamin Lipsey led the way with 18 points.

Corey Philips added 17 points and Trevion LaBeaux netted 16. Freshman Jamison Poe chipped in six points, Jack Wynter five and Lucas Lueth three. 

Ames' Lucas Lueth takes a shot during the Little Cyclones' 65-48 victory over Marshalltown Tuesday at Ames.

Girls can't hang on

The 2021-22 season has been all about rebuilding for the Ames girls.

The winless Little Cyclones are replacing most of last year's roster, including two Division 1 players in Bradley's Caroline Waite and Drake's Ashley Iiams. They are also under the direction of a new coach in Christopher Harken.

With so much to adjust to, it has been tough sledding against the best competition in the state. The girls hadn't come closer than 38 points to an opponent entering Tuesday's game.

But for one half against Marshalltown, they were the better team. Ames led 17-16 at the break.

"We started off the game pretty aggressively and got to a six-point lead midway through the second quarter," Harken said. 

Unfortunately for the Little Cyclones, they went ice cold in the second half, scoring just seven points. 

"Marshalltown threw a zone on us the second half that gave us issues," Harken said. "Foul trouble throughout the game was an issue as well. Maddison Pankonen never was able to get into a rhythm. Free throws also show our change in aggressiveness, as all of our seven free throws were in the first half. Marshalltown had 17 free throws in the second half."

Marshalltown outscored the Ames girls 13-2 down the stretch to pull away.

Ames' Alysa Grawe steals the ball from Marshalltown's Amaya Moore (13) and Sophie Younkin during the third quarter of the Little Cyclones' 36-24 loss to the Bobcats Tuesday at Ames.

Health issues have played a role in the Little Cyclones' inability to find consistency on offense.

"It was good to have Anisa Percival and Morgan Wahl back to help in the post, but it was also apparent that we looked out of sync," Harken said. "We haven’t really been able to have a collaboration of girls be able to participate consistently with each other due to injuries, illness, etc."

Ames' Haley Prakashan takes a shot over Marshalltown's Sophie Younkin during the third quarter of the Little Cyclone girls' 36-24 loss to the Bocats Tuesday at Ames.

Karsyn Pankonen, Alysa Grawe, Percival and Wahl each scored five points for Ames in the loss. Haley Prakashan added four points.

Sophie Younkin led Marshalltown with a game-high 15 points. Lily Roberts added 11 points for the Bobcats.