’Cats scratch back at STC

Marshalltown remedies year-long itch by beating South Tama Trojans 45-23

T-R PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER - Marshalltown freshman guard Amairra Johnson (3) drives to the basket around South Tama County defender Sienna DeFoe (35) during first half of Tuesday’s season-opening basketball game at the Roundhouse. Johnson scored 11 points as the Bobcats won 45-23.

Marshalltown girls basketball turned up the aggression to overwhelm South Tama in the Bobcats’ season opener, 45-23 winners at the Roundhouse on Tuesday night.

Millie Heitmann led MHS with 12 points and Amairra Johnson and Frankie Long added 11 points each off the bench.

After falling behind 8-0 to start, MHS went on a 17-2 run spanning the end of the first quarter and most of the second and led 20-13 at halftime.

“[Coach Brian] Murphy told us in the huddle to just pick up our aggressiveness and we can take this,” Heitmann said. “Our crowd was electric and I don’t think we get this win without them.”

Feeding off that energy created a bit of a chaotic game on Tuesday, where Marshalltown turned the ball over 33 times but generated 17 steals and hounded the glass for 14 offensive rebounds, including four for Heitmann.

T-R PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER - Marshalltown senior guard Aubrie Tejada (10) takes the ball to the basket against South Tama defender Janette Cervantes (4) during the first half of Tuesday’s game at the Roundhouse.

“We’re looking at the post a lot this year just because we think we’ll have a height advantage against a lot of teams,” Heitmann said.

Long, a 6-foot-1 freshman, leveraged that advantage to great effect with seven points in the second-quarter surge. Her freshman teammate Johnson, while smaller, was disruptive to the Trojans with a team-leading eight steals and a knack for quickly getting to the basket.

“They’ve earned their minutes,” Murphy said. “They’ve been in open gyms all summer, playing in scrimmages, and it’s no accident they’re here but something they’ve earned. We ended up with multiple girls in double digits and that’s what I love to see is a balanced scoring attack and not relying on one or two people to carry the load.”

Kayla Heck scored nine points to lead South Tama and Sienna Defoe added seven points. The Trojans won this meeting last year in Tama, 37-35, in what was STC’s only win of the season.

The Bobcats continued to roll in the second half, answering a quick four points from the Trojans with another long scoring run to build a 34-19 lead heading to the final quarter.

“I was proud of the way we fought back tonight after going down 8-0,” Murphy said. “I don’t know if we respond back in the same way in years’ past so I appreciate that we turned some of our defensive intensity and rebounding into some quality looks at the other end.”

The Bobcats are back home next Tuesday for the first girls-boys doubleheader of the season against Des Moines Roosevelt.

Marshalltown 45, South Tama 23

SOUTH TAMA (0-1) — Kayla Heck 4 0-2 9, Takia Rosenberger 0 1-2 1, Madison Hitchcock 1 0-0 2, Aubrey Dolezal 0 1-2 1, Sienna Defoe 3 0-2 7, Azalee Morgan 0 0-0 0, Olivia Hala 0 0-0 0, Janette Cervantes 0 0-0 0, Isabelle Johansson 0 0-2 0, Peyton Van De Walle 0 0-0 0, Jaslene Lasley 1 1-2 3. Totals 9 3-12 23.

MARSHALLTOWN (1-0) — Aubrie Tejada 1 0-0 2, Millie Heitmann 5 2-2 12, Jorja Janssen 1 0-0 2, Sydney Kapayou 1 1-3 3, Ellie Hughes 1 1-2 3, Amairra Johnson 5 1-5 11, Tania Mora 0 0-0 0, Frankie Long 4 3-4 11. Totals 18 9-18 45.

SOUTH TAMA 8 5 6 4 — 23

MARSHALLTOWN 3 17 14 11 — 45

3-point goals–South Tama 2 (Heck, Defoe). Total fouls–South Tama 20, Marshalltown 20. Fouled out–Kapayou.


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