DES MOINES — Waverly-Shell Rock star post Aftin Phyfe’s at home in the sea or the paint.
Growing up in South America — far-off countries such as Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay — often granted prime access to enticing aquatic environments.
“I was by the pool every day, or by the ocean every day,” said the 6-foot-2 Phyfe, whose father Steve, a former Northern Iowa standout, was playing basketball professionally at the time. “So I was in the water.”
Aftin Phyfe was on the hardwood Tuesday, helping the No. 2 Go-Hawks take on Winterset in a late Class 4A quarterfinal girls’ state tournament game at Wells Fargo Arena.
She’ll swim in college next season at her dad’s alma mater.
“I wasn’t the best at (swimming) so it was more just like, ‘I like to do it,’ you know?” said Phyfe, a first-team all-stater in the 100 freestyle. “I really did not like basketball at all until seventh grade; I’m like, ‘Oh, I guess I’ll try it.’ I just found a love for it.”
The senior’s gone on to become the Go-Hawks all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
She entered Tuesday shooting an astonishing 71.7 percent from the floor this season, tops in all classes among players with more than eight field goal attempts and averages 14.7 points and 6.2 rebounds.
“This is a great way to end it,” Phyfe said of helping her team reach state for the first time since 1986. “We’re just going to go out and try.”
She didn’t want to do that, in terms of hoops, initially.
“My parents tried so hard to get me to play basketball when I was younger,” Phyfe recalled. “They put me on teams and I just would not want to. I wouldn’t try. I’d cry every time I would go play.”
Now she’s so good around the rim, missing it will be an issue — one she’ll overcome.
“I knew swimming was the better choice for me,” Phyfe said.
WEATHER CHANNEL’D: Benton Community bus driver/assistant girls’ basketball coach Gene Frame has seen worse.
Sure, roughly three inches of snow blanketed Des Moines in the late morning hours — with more coming later.
“It wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be,” said the 15-year veteran behind the wheel, who added they might spend the night depending on how bad the snow got.
Mid-Prairie fans also beat the worst of the weather.
Sophomore Dylan Schrock arrived at about 2:45 — a half hour before tip.
“We got into Des Moines and then it was not as great,” Schrock said.
John Butters arrived ahead of the storm, around noon, and saw his daughter, Jess, score two points while grabbing three rebounds in the Golden Eagles‘ first tournament game in nine years — a 51-30 loss to No. 2 MOC-Floyd Valley.
“We beat it,” he said of the storm.
Again, Frame’s seen much worse.
“We left Dyersville one night in an ice storm and it took about three and a half hours to get home,” the Norway graduate said. “It was just solid rain — freezing rain. We had to stop every mile or two and one of the coaches would jump out and slap the ice off the windshield. My knuckles were white when I got home. It was bad.”
- Rob Gray, correspondent
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT: If you put your head down after the opening tip, you missed it.
Heidi Hoeger was on the floor, about five seconds after Maquoketa Valley’s Class 2A quarterfinal game began.
“I don’t know what happened,” she said. “I tried to get back on defense, and I think I stepped on somebody’s foot.”
It didn’t look good. Hoeger winced in pain, then went to the bench. After a bit, she started walking on it, then eventually came back into the game.
Hoeger finished with 11 points and five rebounds as the Wildcats upset IKM-Manning, 65-57. She shot 12 of her team’s 45 free throws, making seven.
“We like to attack and make free throws,” she said. “It’s a game-changer.”
— Jeff Linder