TRAER - Jesup's Bethany Weltzin made just one of her first seven shots from the foul line against North Tama on Monday night.
But when the senior stepped up to the stripe with the game on the line and 19 seconds on the clock, Weltzin couldn't have been more on target.
Weltzin nailed both freebies to extend the J-Hawks' lead to three and the advantage held up during Jesup's 40-38 road win over the Redhawks in a non-conference season opener featuring teams from the Iowa Star Conference and NICL East.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
North Tama junior Anna Kvidera, left, shoots over Jesup’s Haley Donlea on Monday during non-conference action in Traer. Kvidera led the Redhawks with 13 points but the J-Hawks won the game 40-38 with a second-half rally.
"That is who we were trying to foul," North Tama coach Phil Moss said of the late free throws from Weltzin. "We figured she was a safe bet. She just made them that time."
The Redhawks led by four after the first quarter and had a lead as large as seven in the first half before Jesup stormed past them in the third. North Tama righted the ship in the fourth but never could get back in front.
Jesup's Alissa Brown gave the Redhawks trouble all night. She had 13 of Jesup's 17 points in the first half before finishing with a game-high 21 points.
Jesup 40, North Tama 38
JESUP (1-0) - Bethany Weltzin 3 3-9 9, Annika Wall 2 0-0 4, Emily Nejdl 1 0-0 2, Payton Joblinkse 0 2-2 2, Alissa Brown 8 4-9 21, Haley Donlea 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 15 9-21 40.
NORTH TAMA (0-1) - Jessi Jacobs 1 0-0 2, Abi Watson 1 1-2 3, Anna Kvidera 3 7-9 13, Abbie Schafer 1 0-0 2, Josie Youel 2 4-8 8, Sam Zobel 5 0-1 10. TOTALS 13 12-20 38.
3-Point Goals - Jesup 1 (Brown), North Tama 0. Total fouls - Jesup 18, North Tama 17. Fouled out - none.
"She is obviously their go-to player and a really nice player," Moss said. "We zoned the entire first half but tried some man in the fourth quarter before she buried that 3. She is a tough matchup because she scores so many different ways."
The difference in the game was the third quarter. Jesup trailed by four at halftime, but the J-Hawks scored six of the first eight points to even it up at 23-all. North Tama was plagued by turnovers and foul trouble to both senior captains - Josie Youel and Sam Zobel.
"Everybody got into foul trouble it seemed like," Moss said. "Depending on how refs decide to call it, there may be a lot of fouls called. Free throws are going to be huge. In the past, they let you play a little more aggressively. They are clamping down on that though. It will change the game."
North Tama was 12-of-20 from the line in the game and Jesup was 9-for-21. There was a total of 35 fouls called in the game.
The Redhawks put themselves in position to win the game in the fourth quarter after buckets from Jessi Jacobs, Abi Watson and Zobel tied the game at 33-all.
Brown broke the tie on two separate occasions, the second one on a long 3-pointer. Youel's bucket in the lane cut the J-Hawk lead to 38-37. North Tama then had the ball three different times with the chance to take the lead but came up empty.
Jesup's Haley Donlea missed the front end of a one-and-one to give North Tama (0-1) another chance, but the Redhawks turned it over with 20 seconds to play.
Weltzin then buried two free throws to push the lead to three before Youel hit 1-of-2 from the line to make it a two-point game.
The Redhawks regained possession on the miss after a jump ball was called. However, three different shot attempts were off line. Kvidera's 12-foot jumper at the horn was short.
"With the time and what we were looking for, I wanted something from two to three foot in," said Moss of the final out-of-bounds play. "We were aiming for the bunny with Josie or Sam.
"We had a lot of shots we should have made - too many missed shots inside. We need to execute better and a lot of it is small stuff and some fine tuning."
Kvidera did lead the Redhawks with a team-high 13 points and also had eight rebounds. Zobel ended up with 10 points and six boards and Youel added eight points and four rebounds. Watson had three steals and Madison Howard pulled down five boards.
The Redhawks lost to Jesup by three last year. ... North Tama next plays Dec. 3 against Class 1A No. 3 ranked Colo-NESCO in Colo. ... North Tama has just three seniors on its roster and only two played Monday. "The effort was good. It was small execution problems that we need to work on. We are relatively young so we are still working on some things."