Rams rough up Bobcats in regionals
PLEASANT HILL — Head coach Brian Murphy’s vision for what he wants the Marshalltown girls’ basketball program to be gave his Bobcats front-row seats for their clinic on Saturday night.
Class 5A No. 4 Southeast Polk put perfection into motion against Marshalltown in their Region 4 semifinal, beating the Bobcats 85-17 to advance to within one game of the state tournament.
The Rams (14-3) will host Sioux City East (18-4) in Tuesday’s regional finals, while Marshalltown was left to lick the wounds after another season with single-digit wins. Murphy, however, isn’t one to mope.
“The silver lining for this year is we get this group back, and what we talked about postgame is that we have a lot of growing to do in a variety of ways,” he said, “and a lot of that is learning to embrace any team we have on the schedule. What has been consistent this year is with stronger teams, it seems like we wait for them to make a move before we respond. What we showed against Urbandale a few nights ago is when we come out aggressive, we can hang with teams, but we have to decide to do it from the tip.”
That was a feat the Bobcats (1-18) failed to do from the opening tip on Saturday night, as Southeast Polk scored on a set play upon winning the jump ball. Rams senior Grace Larkins, a 5-foot-11 guard and University of South Dakota recruit, scored a layup three seconds into the postseason opener for both teams and set a tone for the rest of the night.
Southeast Polk scored the first nine points of the game, led 25-4 after the first quarter and continued to pour it on even while going all the way down its bench. Twelve of the 14 Rams to play scored, and it all looked the same regardless which players were on the court for Southeast Polk.
“The style of offense that they run is the vision for our team,” Murphy said. “We would love the ball to move that quickly and that basketball IQ where they know where the next pass is, and when that first option isn’t there they don’t hesitate. That balance and that level of consistency when they’re going 11-deep and their offense didn’t look much different, so that certainly is a credit to the system they’ve implemented at that level.”
Marshalltown didn’t wilt against Southeast Polk’s intense defensive pressure, but the Bobcats couldn’t create scoring opportunities against it either. Finally in the third quarter, the ‘Cats played a competitive period in which they scored one basket for every two the Rams got.
Southeast Polk, which had tallied 32 points in the second quarter alone for a 57-8 halftime advantage, only won the third quarter 17-9.
“What we wanted was to come out with consistent effort and physicality,” Murphy said. “It’s the same thing we’ve been preaching all season, and the positive is we finally saw it in the second half. The frustrating thing is that it took us a full half to finally respond, and that has been our challenge all year is that consistency.”
Southeast Polk is a picture of it. The Rams’ starting five finished 23-for-33 from the field, 4-for-6 from 3-point range, and combined for 50 points. Brooklin Dailey had 13 points to lead the Rams, Rylie Kruse and Brooke Woodyard had 12 points apiece, and Larkins finished with 11.
For Marshalltown, Sophie Younkin had team-highs of eight points and five rebounds. Lily Roberts totaled seven points and Zaielah Newman added two points. All three are juniors.
Carlye Castillo, the lone senior on the Bobcats’ season-ending roster, was unable to score on two field-goal attempts but did contribute one rebound in her final game as a Bobcat.
“For better or worse we’ve got 6-7 months now to cram as much work in as we can to really try to speed up that development,” Murphy said of the offseason. “We’ve got a lot of goals for the summer so that’s kind of been the focus, especially looking ahead and asking ‘what do we need to work on and how much time can we cram in to get ourselves there?'”
Southeast Polk 85, Marshalltown 17
MARSHALLTOWN (1-18) — Lily Roberts 3 0-0 7, Zaielah Newman 1 0-0 2, Sara Huffman 0 0-0 0, Sophie Younkin 4 0-0 8, Kaylin Smith 0 0-0 0, Rachel Smith 0 0-0 0, Carlye Castillo 0 0-0 0, Malena Kammerer 0 0-0 0, Amaya Moore 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 8 0-0 17.
SE POLK (14-3) — Jaycie Elliott 1 0-0 2, Grace Larkins 5 0-0 11, Brooklin Dailey 6 0-0 13, Rylie Kruse 5 0-1 12, Brooke Woodyard 6 0-0 12, Jacie Mitchell 1 0-0 3, Grace Rosenboom 4 0-0 8, Anna Van Kooten 0 0-0 0, Tricia Veldhuizen 0 0-0 0, Stella Charleston 3 0-0 8, Ashlin Williams 2 0-0 4, Izzy McCool 1 0-0 2, Eva Solseth 1 0-0 2, Kadence Williams 3 0-0 8. TOTALS 38 0-1 85.
MHS 4 4 9 0 — 17
SE POLK 25 32 17 11 — 85
3-Point Goals–MHS 1 (Roberts), SEP 9 (Charleston 2, Kruse 2, Williams 2, MItchell, Larkins, Dailey). Team Fouls–MHS 3, SEP 6. Fouled out–none.