GRUNDY CENTER - Perhaps the only drawback from a dominant opening quarter for the Class 1A No. 6-ranked Grundy Center girls' basketball team was giving up a pair of offensive boards early.
Though the Spartans could be forgiven as the caroms came off an inbounds play where Wapsie Valley attempted three shots at its own bucket.
It was that kind of night for the Warriors as Grundy Center (1-0) used a smothering defense to force 16 steals and spark their transition game in a 61-20 rout over Wapsie Valley Tuesday.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Grundy Center’s Sam Meyers (50) fends off Wapsie Valley’s McKenna Kuhlman, left, and Morgan McGarvey in fourth quarter action Tuesday night in Grundy Center. Meyers poured in 19 of her game-high 21 points in the first half as the sixth-ranked Spartans cruised to a 61-20 victory.
"We have worked very hard on our press and trying to run the basketball and I think in the first half we did that very well," said Grundy Center Coach Al Jones.
Scoring the first 13 points of the contest, the Spartans raced to a 19-2 lead after one frame and a 44-6 advantage by halftime - setting the continuous clock into motion for the entire second half.
Finding plenty of looks on the break, Sam Meyers led the way with 19 of her game-high 21 points in the opening half.
Grundy Center 61, Wapsie Valley 20
At Grundy Center
Grundy Center (1-0) - Jansen 1-4 2-4 4, Ackerman 5-9 0-0 11, Lindeman 2-4 0-0 4, Ackerson 3-6 0-0 7, Faust 1-4 0-0 2, Beenken 1-1 0-0 2, Gutosky 1-5 0-0 2, Rust 1-3 0-0 3, Buss 0-0 0-0 0, Meyers 10-15 1-2 21, Hook 1-7 1-2 3, Bowen 1-1 2-2 4. TOTALS 23-47 6-10 61.
Wapsie Valley (0-1) - Platte 0-0 0-0 0, Saulsberry 0-0 0-0 0, Risse 2-6 0-0 4, Kuhlmann 3-5 2-5 8, Folsom 0-0 0-0 0, Cook 0-0 0-0 0, Meyer 0-0 0-0 0, Kleitsch 0-1 0-0 0, Waldstein 2-4 0-1 4, Erhardt 0-0 0-0 0, Dinsdale 1-3 0-0 2, Weepie 1-5 0-0 2, McGarvey 0-4 0-3 0. TOTALS 9-28 2-11 21.
"Sam has a quick drop step, a hook shot and she runs the floor very well," said Jones.
"Our kids did a great job of looking down the floor and not being afraid to throw over the top of the defense."
Riley Ackerman added 12 points, while Katie Lindeman and Jessica Ackerson each chipped in five as a total of 11 Spartans scored. McKenna Kuhlman led Wapsie Valley (0-1) with eight points.
Outscoring the Warriors' first half offense by herself in the opening stanza, Meyer scored nine of the Spartans' first 13 points before Morgan McGarvey got the visitors on the board with 1:22 to play in the first quarter.
Offering up a fast-break clinic, Grundy Center followed with a 23-0 run punctuated by a bank-in 3 from Jennifer Rust to give the home team a 36-2 cushion midway through the second frame.
Jones went to his bench early and often as the Spartans' offense stalled in the third but still finished 23-of-47 (49 percent) from the field. Wapsie Valley was limited to 9 of 28 from the field (32 percent) and converted just 2-of-11 tries (18 percent) from the charity stripe.
"It's great to let all those kids get some experience. We got all 12 kids that were dressed into the ball game," said Jones.
Wapsie Valley outscored the Spartans 7-4 in the third but couldn't draw any closer than 48-15 in the opening moments of the fourth. Back-to-back treys from Ackerson and Ackerman had the Spartans rolling again late in the final period.
"In the second half, sometimes things didn't click like we wanted them to, but the kids came back in the fourth quarter and did a nice job of stepping up with three-pointers and working through the post," said Jones.
Grundy Center faces South Tama on the road Friday in a girl-boy doubleheader starting at 6:15 p.m.