Grant reaches milestone as Warriors rout Redhawks
MESKWAKI SETTLEMENT — The layup fell through the net midway through the second quarter of Thursday night’s Class 1A District 10 semifinal game between Meskwaki and North Tama. It looked just like an ordinary and-one — but the roar of the crowd, the signs spelling it out and the smile on Taurice Grant’s face said it all.
Grant joined the 1,000-point club with that second-quarter basket and finished the night with 16 points, helping the Warriors (19-3) to a 55-20 rout of the Redhawks (9-14) to move on to the district finals.
The achievement was something to savor for the senior guard, who had older brother Tyus Grant on the bench for this season.
“It’s amazing,” Grant said. “There’s a lot of great names in this 1,000 point category, especially in this school. There’s a lot of legends, so being named with them is kinda great.”
His performance coincided with an incisive first-half performance from the Warriors. Meskwaki jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first four minutes of action, pushing their usual press higher and putting the Redhawks behind the eight-ball.
North Tama head coach Alex Tagtow said it was tough to bounce back from that early blitz.
“It was 10-0 before I even felt like I sat down on the bench,” Tagtow said. “That’s really what did it. They kinda scared us with how much they jumped out, and it was downhill from there in the first half.”
By the end of the first quarter the Warriors held a 21-3 lead and all the momentum. The first half ended with the score 45-7 in the Warriors’ favor, with Grant and Osceola Tyon scoring in double-digits. They tied for scoring leaders with 16 points, which put Grant fifth all-time in Meskwaki Settlement School boys’ basketball history in points scored.
Coach Garrett Bear said it was a well-deserved honor.
“One of the smartest kids I’ve ever coached,” Bear said. “Just the effort and athleticism, on another level.”
But in the second half, the game went down a couple of notches in quality. North Tama was the team with the impetus in the third quarter and scored the first 11 points of the half. Meskwaki scored just one point the whole quarter.
Bear said the second half showing from Meskwaki was like a different team.
“We just weren’t sharp,” Bear said. “Whether it was just we didn’t have the same enthusiasm anymore because the game was put away, but to put up 10 points in the second half, that’s not acceptable on any level.”
The fourth quarter settled down a little more, as Meskwaki scored nine points and held the Redhawks to two points. But Bear made it clear that can’t happen against the Warriors’ next opposition, Grundy Center.
The Spartans are 16-5 on the season and were co-champions in the NICL West. The game will tip off Tuesday at 7 p.m. in State Center.
Navarro reflects on historic milestone
MESKWAKI SETTLEMENT — Deandra Navarro’s high school career ended last week, but Thursday her last-game achievement was given a chance to shine alongside Taurice Grant’s big moment.
Navarro is the first girls’ basketball player in Meskwaki history to reach 1,000 career points, after reaching the mark with a basket late in the team’s Class 1A regional play loss to Belle Plaine Feb. 13.
Navarro said it was an emotional moment, as her mother was present at the game when she reached 1,000.
“It hit me, I was like, ‘Wait, that’s 1,000 points,'” Navarro said. “The first thing I said was, ‘I did it, mom.'”
She led the Warriors with 15.7 points per game in the regular season, her second-straight year leading Meskwaki in scoring.
It was a moment that made Navarro glad she hadn’t quit basketball when going through difficult life moments earlier in her high school career.
“There were so many times when I wanted to quit and give up, but when I hit that I just realized, ‘Imagine if I gave up, then none of this would have happened,'” Navarro said.
Meskwaki 55, North Tama 20
NORTH TAMA (9-14) — Gabe Kopriva 4 0-0 10, Devin McKinley 2 2-2 7, Michael Schrier 0 0-0 0, Adam Greiner 1 0-0 3, Dylan Hosek 0 0-2 0, Camden Clausen 0 0-0 0, Austin Unker 0 0-0 0, Jared Dvorak 0 0-0 0, Logan Siemens 0 0-0 0, Thomas Hulme 0 0-0 0, Jace Hlas 0 0-0 0, Jesse Ford 0 0-2 0. TOTALS 7 2-6 20.
MESKWAKI (19-3) — Osceola Tyon 7 1-1 16, Larnell Bear 2 1-1 5, Taurice Grant 6 2-3 16, Evan Nelson 3 1-2 7, Tiernan Wanatee 1 0-0 2, Kallen White Eyes 0 0-0 0, Dayvin Guevara 0 0-0 0, Wyatt Kapayou 0 0-0 0, Zayton Weninger 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 23 5-8 55.
N. TAMA 3 4 11 2 — 20
MESKWAKI 21 24 1 9 — 55
3-Point Goals–NT 4 (Kopriva 2, McKinley, Greiner), Meskwaki 4 (Grant 2, Tyon, Chavez). Team Fouls–NT 11, Meskwaki 14. Fouled out–none.