IOWA CITY – Iowa City High received a rude awakening, in its own building no less. After eight minutes of basketball the scoreboard inside the City High gym read, Visitors 13, Home 9. Even if that “visitor” boasted a top two ranking in 4A, the Little Hawks topped the 5A rankings – so they didn’t welcome the deficit.
“It’s not something that we’ve been used to so far this season,” junior Haley Lorenzen said. “Honestly it was good for us because we need to get into those situations to know how to act and how to keep our composure.”
The Little Hawks responded to the adversity in a demonstrative fashion. After trailing by seven with 25 seconds left in the first quarter, City High reeled off a 35-8 run to turn the tide and eventually wind up with a 56-36 win.
No Little Hawk dealt with the adversity better than Lorenzen. The junior finished with a pedestrian four points on two of four shooting, with an assist. After the sluggish first, the center exploded for 18 points, five rebounds, six assists and seven blocks in the final 24 minutes.
“In the first half she wasn’t really there mentally. But as a team we really picked her up and she really improved her game in the second half,” senior guard Mickey Hansche said. “We just basically told her that she’s one of the best players in the state and she needs to play like.”
She did just that and just as her teammates jump started her, Lorenzen returned the favor. With the 6-3 junior dominating inside, her teammates took advantage. Every player no wearing No. 44 shot 2 of 5 in the first. Lorenzen’s teammates closed the game shooting 12 of 17 (71 percent).
“That was a key, that we wouldn’t let up on them. I think that’s happened to us sometimes in the past” City High head coach Bill McTaggert said. “For the most part I was very pleased with that. Once we got them down, we put the hammer down, and pretty much took them out of it by the end of the third quarter.”
Iowa City built the impenetrable lead with a suffocating defensive effort, hinged on Lorenzen’s blocks. The Little Hawks held the Saints to one point in the second quarter. Through a 12:34 spanning the periods of the first, second and third quarters, Xavier made shot from the field. During that time, the Little Hawks outscored the Saints 33-6.
“They must have hit eight baskets in a row while we were missing eight in a row and that swung us in the other direction,” Xavier head coach Tom Lilly said. “I think that we’re still learning how to react to that. I don’t think we’re quite ready to mentally deal with disappointment.”
Along with Lorenzen, Hansche also brought her game to another level in the second half. The senior guard scored all 12 of her 17 in the final 16 minutes. All 17 came after the first quarter. The Lorenzen-Hansche duo combined for 14 points, with either supplying the assist to the other.
With both clicking on all cylinders in the second half, the Little Hawks played a nearly unstoppable brand of basketball.
“It’s just getting those looks inside and then you know kicking back out and getting our open 3s,” Lorenzen said. “With Courtney (Joens) Mickey and (Kiera Washpun), not to sound like bragging, but we’re pretty hard to guard.”
IOWA CITY HIGH 56, CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER 36
At Iowa City High
Cedar Rapids Xavier (36): Hayley Deutmeyer 3-7 0-0 7; Ashley Stulken 4-7 1-4 10; Kayla Armstrong 0-7 0-0 0; Abby Watson 1-4 1-2 3; Emma Deignan 0-2 0-0 0; Lisa Boomgarden 0-1 1-2 1; Lizzy Bailey 2-5 2-2 6; Sarah Dickes 3-6 0-0 6; Morgan Breitbach 0-1 0-0 0; Maddie Bertsch 0-1 0-0 0; McKenna Andersen 1-1 0-0 3.
Iowa City High (56) Courtney Joens 2-2 2-2 8; Mickey Hansche 7-11 0-0 17; Hayley Lorenzen 10-18 0-2 20; Kiera Washpun 2-6 1-2 5; Aliyah Gustafson 3-4 0-0 6; Peyton Koenig 0-1 0-0 0.
Halftime: Iowa City High 27-17. 3-point Field Goals.Xavier 2-4 (Andersen 1-1) City High 5-8 (Hansche 3-4); Rebounds: Xavier 21 (Stulken 6), City High 21 (Joens 6); Assists Xavier 5 (Five with 1) Iowa City 13 (Lorenzen 6)