A furious rally by the Ankeny girls’ basketball team came up short in its CIML Conference opener on Tuesday at Waukee.
The 13th-ranked Hawkettes nearly overcame an 18-point deficit in the second half before No. 8 Waukee held on for a 62-57 victory.
“I just wanted our girls to have a shot at the end, and I felt like they did,” said Ankeny coach Nate Tobey. “It’s a testament to our girls and their fight and how much they wanted to win there at the end.”
The Warriors (2-0) built a 46-28 advantage midway through the third quarter before Ankeny rallied. The Hawkettes (2-1) closed the gap to 51-41 after three periods, then later used a 10-0 run to pull within 58-54 on a steal and layup by Jayla Williams with 1 minute 17 seconds left.
Ankeny’s full-court press forced the Warriors into several turnovers.
“Jayla jumped up and got a lot of steals and a lot of tips, and me and Karsen (Jacks) were up front trying to get steals forcing them baseline and forcing them into traps,” said Ainsley Kiene.
Jacks later made a 3-point goal to cut Waukee’s lead to 60-57 with 23 seconds remaining, but that was as close as the Hawkettes could get. The Warriors held on for the win despite making just 2-of-8 free throws in the final 20 seconds.
“These games have been stressful so far with the comebacks,” Tobey said. “But our girls played really hard, and no matter what the score is, we feel like we’re in it.”
Williams led all scorers with 24 points. She also had eight rebounds and four steals.
Jacks and Kiene each added 14 points. Jacks added eight rebounds and four assists, while Kiene went 4-of-12 from 3-point range.
Waukee shot 55.6 percent from the field (25-of-45). Mara Yokiel led the way with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while Emilie Sorensen scored 17 on 7-of-10 shooting.
Kirsten Hauck contributed 15 points and six assists, going 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Sophia Hope had 10 rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
“They move the ball so well and they can spread you out and make shots from all over,” Tobey said of the Warriors. “It’s just a hard defensive assignment for any team. We just found ourselves in rotation a lot and giving up a lot of open 3s, which hopefully we can fix the next few days in practice going into a huge game on Friday.”
Ankeny jumped out to an early 8-2 lead before Waukee answered with a 20-4 run. Yokiel had nine of her points in the first quarter, including a traditional 3-point play with 0.1 second left in the period.
Sorensen then scored 11 of her points in the second quarter before Yokiel hit a 3-pointer with 7 seconds to go to give Waukee a 34-24 margin at halftime.
The Warriors eventually took their biggest lead on a 3-pointer by Hauck with 3:49 left in the third quarter.
“We battled back,” Kiene said. “We were down 18, but we battled and that’s what we’ve been doing. That’s what we did against Cedar Falls (in a 60-55 overtime win on Nov. 21).
“This is only our third game. We’ve got a lot to work on, but we’re still young,” she added.
The Hawkettes will travel to Johnston on Friday for a conference game against the No. 1 Dragons (2-0), who opened league play on Tuesday with a 72-56 triumph at No. 10 Waukee Northwest.