TAMA - Coming off a barrage of tough opponents and a three-game slide, the Cougars took out their frustrations on South Tama early.
But as fouls added up in the third quarter, AGWSR's intensity threatened to extend its losing slide to four.
Taking care of business at the free-throw line, the Cougars held off a second half surge from the Trojans for a 48-39 triumph - and AGWSR coach Laurie Gann's 300th career victory - in NICL West Division action Friday.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
AGWSR’s Marissa Horner (13) tries to drive against South Tama’s Shelby Bradley during the second half of Friday’s NICL West Division girls’ basketball game in Tama. Horner had three 3-pointers on her way to nine points in the Cougars’ 48-39 victory.
Forced to sit part of the third quarter because of foul trouble, Ella Frazier returned to steady the Cougars with a basket inside and a pair of free throws. Frazier triggered an 8-0 blitz after the Trojans had closed a 16-point halftime deficit to one. Kaleigh Sieck buried a 3 to pull the Trojans within 42-36 with 1:35 to play but they couldn't draw any closer as AGWSR buried its final 10 attempts - and shot 13-of-14 in the game - from the line to close it out.
"We came out kind of flat in the third quarter. I don't know if we got comfortable with where we were at," said Gann.
"I wasn't real pleased with our attack mode there."
AGWSR 48, South Tama 39
AGWSR (6-4, 5-2) - Marissa Horner 3 0-0 9, Kristen Zacharias 3 0-0 6, Madi Fryslie 4 3-4 11, Kim Ellingson 0 2-2 2, Taylor Risius 0 0-0 0, Ella Frazier 3 6-6 12, Becca Wiarda 0 0-0 0, Alexa Johnson 0 0-0 0, Morgan Kappel 0 0-0 0, Jayne Wiarda 3 2-2 8. TOTALS 16 13-14 48.
SOUTH TAMA (4-5, 4-4) - Kaleigh Sieck 2 0-2 5, Paige Van Dyk 2 0-0 5, Megan Wanatee 1 3-7 5, Trisha Walz 1 0-0 2, Shelby Bradley 2 0-0 6, Hailee Weiss 0 1-2 1, Jade Rohach 6 1-1 13, Samantha Holtz 0 0-1 0, Erin Clayton 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 15 5-13 39.
3-Point Goals - AGWSR 3 (Horner 3), STC 4 (Bradley 2, Sieck, Van Dyk).
Trailing 26-10 at the half, Jade Rohach sparked the Trojans with all 13 of her points after intermission and triggered the home team with a couple buckets inside to open the third. The senior post scored three straight baskets to cap a 10-2 flurry for the Trojans bringing them within 34-33 with 5:21 to play.
It was no coincidence that the offense got a bit stagnant when Frazier - who scored a team-high 12 points - ran into foul trouble in the third forcing a trip to the bench.
"She's a leader on the floor and that really hurt us at that point," said Gann.
Both teams were moving in opposite directions coming into Friday's showdown.
The Cougars (6-5, 5-2) endured a brutal three-game stretch against Class 1A No. 8 Grundy Center, West Marshall and Class 2A No. 3 Aplington-Parkersburg, with all resulting in defeat. Meanwhile, the Trojans (4-5, 4-4) had won three straight posting double-digit final margins in each.
"This was a key game for us. We've played some tough competition and it's been a learning experience for them," said Gann.
The Cougars looked like the team on a win streak scoring the first 14 points and leading by at least 13 through the entire first half by throwing multiple defensive looks at the Trojans. Sparked by a pair of buckets from Rohach, South Tama rallied with a 13-2 run to close the deficit to 28-23 late in third.
Madi Fryslie scored the final four points of the quarter, driving the length of the court for a layup to close the frame with the Cougars ahead 32-23. Fryslie finished with 11 points, Marissa Horner added nine and Jayne Wiarda had eight. Shelby Bradley chipped in six points for South Tama.
The Trojans came into the contest as the top free throwing shooting team in the league at 70.5 percent, though they connected on just five of 13 attempts.
The Trojans battle eighth-ranked Grundy Center on the road Tuesday, while the Cougars host BCLUW that same evening.