A long basketball season can often include both peaks and valleys–sometimes just a few days apart.
That was the case last week for the seventh-ranked Ankeny girls’ team, which followed up Tuesday’s 46-35 win at Class 4A No. 1 Dallas Center-Grimes with a disappointing 55-29 loss on its home court Friday to No. 12 Southeast Polk.
The Rams avenged last month’s 62-56 loss. They improved to 3-7 in the CIML Conference and 7-7 overall, while Ankeny’s records dropped to 4-6 and 9-6.
“It was kind of the reverse of the first game in some aspects,” said Ankeny coach Nate Tobey. “You could tell they were heavily motivated and wanted this one for sure.”
The Hawkettes actually got off to a good start, jumping out to a 17-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. Southeast Polk closed the gap to 25-20 at halftime.
The Rams then outscored Ankeny, 35-4, in the second half. The Hawkettes, who committed 25 turnovers and shot just 24.3 percent from the field (9-of-37), went scoreless in the final period.
“It was a tale of two halves really,” Tobey said. “The first half we played pretty well, and the shots were falling. We weren’t taking care of the ball very well, but we were still getting good looks at the basket and finishing. That really just went away in the second half. Obviously, our offense just totally disappeared and that’s on me. I look forward to the opportunity in the next couple of days to get better with that.”
Savannah Gage led Ankeny with 19 points, but her teammates combined for just 10 points on 3-of-20 shooting. Jayla Williams grabbed five rebounds for the Hawkettes, while Karsen Jacks had three assists and two steals.
“I felt like there were times when we were getting good shots, and they just weren’t falling,” Tobey said. “But when you turn the ball over 20-plus times in a game, you just don’t have any flow. It makes it even harder for the shots you do get to fall, and I think that was a big part of it.”
Alyssa Bartlett had 21 points and three assists for the Rams, while Eva Solseth contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Zoe Hinze added 10 points and four of the team’s 16 steals.
“Credit to Southeast Polk for the level of pressure that they applied,” Tobey said. “Their execution with their press and their half-court defense was really impressive. They’ve done that against some other teams as well since winter break.”
Tobey said his team is battling some fatigue as well as some minor injuries and illnesses.
“It’s just that time of year when things become a grind, but I have a lot of confidence that our girls will pull through this going into a big week,” Tobey said. “We’ll learn from this and get better.”
Ankeny will host another conference game against No. 3 Dowling Catholic (10-4) on Tuesday. The Maroons won the first meeting, 55-38, on Dec. 15.