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Trojans tip Royals in opener

Reyerson racks up 26 points in West Marshall’s victory over Colo-NESCO

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - West Marshall sophomore Katy Reyerson drives for a shot against Colo-NESCO during the Trojans’ season-opening girls basketball game on Friday night in Colo. Reyerson had a game-high 24 points in the Trojans’ 42-30 triumph.

COLO — What a unique sight the girls’ basketball season opener for West Marshall was against Colo-NESCO.

It started with the stands, which were pretty empty for the traditional first game of the year between the Royals and Trojans. The IHSAA and Governor Kim Reynolds’ rulings have limited the attendance of high school games to two people per athlete, so there was plenty of room to social distance (with masks on) for fans. West Marshall decided to play with masks on while Colo-NESCO did not.

As surreal as it felt, the Trojans began the season with a hard-fought 42-30 win over the Royals in their first outing with a revamped team.

Losing four starters from the 2019-20 team, the biggest scoring load fell on sophomore forward Katy Reyerson, who scored 26 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and had five steals.

Head coach Fred Zeller said the team will have to rely on her a lot this season, but mentioned that the team’s shooting will need to improve.

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - West Marshall’s Avery Randall (32) goes to the basket for a layup attempt during Friday’s game at Colo-NESCO.

“Obviously people are gonna key on Katy,” Zeller said. “I thought we had some good looks from outside, Katy found some inside-outside game and we just didn’t make the threes. That’s something I think will come around because we’ve got some pretty good shooters.”

Reyerson’s performance was also marked by her presence as the tallest person on the floor for the Trojans. With new players making an impact on the play at the varsity level, there was a marked change in the way West Marshall was forced to play.

Early on, the Trojans were buzzing the ball around and playing a drive-and-kick style. But in the third and fourth quarters, the Trojans were besieged by a Colo-NESCO press.

It threatened to turn a comfortable 21-11 halftime lead for the Trojans into a third-quarter deficit, as the Royals cut five points off of the lead and were consistently forcing West Marshall into bad situations offensively.

“We got a little bit panicky there in the third quarter or fourth quarter,” Zeller said. “They made a big comeback and we made some unnecessary turnovers. But they were playing aggressive, and we’ve got a lot of young kids. But down the stretch, we got into our press and I think that changed the game around.”

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

The team’s reliance on Reyerson meant no other Trojans player scored more than four points, and the number of new contributors at points felt like the moment was hitting them. The Trojans turned the ball over 27 times against the Colo-NESCO trap. So with their lead shrinking and the on-ball pressure from the Royals mounting, Zeller and West Marshall decided to strike back with a press of their own.

The guard-oriented Trojans had the speed to disrupt Colo-NESCO much like the Royals were doing to them. It led to plenty of mistakes from the Royals — mistakes that West Marshall took advantage of to slowly build back its lead. After getting within two points at 30-28, Colo-NESCO didn’t score until the game’s final minute to make the score 40-30. West Marshall would then score again to reach the final score.

In a pandemic season unlike any other, any win is a big one. And Zeller sounded happy to get it with a revamped group in their first attempt.

“I think this gave us some confidence,” Zeller said. “We could have folded but we actually started making some better decisions and kinda hung on to a little bit towards the end. I thought it was just a well played last five or six minutes for us.”

West Marshall 42, Colo-NESCO 30

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

At Colo

W. MARSHALL (1-0) — Katy Reyerson 26, Kikki Pfantz 4, Lilly Buck 4, Lauren Solberg 2, Delaney Nichols 2.

COLO-NESCO (0-1) — Isabell Voelker 12, Ayvarie Bappe 8, Jenna Banks 5, McKenzie Niemeyer 4, Jenna Hill 1.

W. MARSHALL 10 11 6 15 — 42

COLO-NESCO 5 6 11 8 — 3

3-Point Goals–C-N 4 (Bappe 2, Voelker 2).

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