CEDAR RAPIDS — An elite team on a hot night. That’s a combination for invincibility.
Class 5A top-ranked Iowa City High shot 62.5 percent from the floor and took down No. 7 Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 67-44, in a Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ basketball showdown in front of nearly 1,000 fans Friday night at Kennedy High School.
“They’re No. 1 for a reason,” said Kennedy Coach Tony Vis. “They brought their ‘A’ game, and we didn’t. The better team won tonight, plain and simple.”
Kiera Washpun and Courtney Joens posted 20 points apiece, and Haley Lorenzen tacked on 18 as the Little Hawks improved to 16-0 overall, 8-0 in the MVC.
In the comfort of their locker room afterward, they joined voices in a primal scream.
Yeah, this one mattered.
“This was a special win,” said Washpun, who also grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out five assists. “We had heard a lot about Kennedy. Normally we get pretty nervous for a game like this, but we came out comfortable.
“Everything was perfect for us tonight.”
City High led from wire to wire, roaring to a 13-2 lead behind Lorenzen, the all-state post who is bound for the University of Florida.
The Little Hawks began ablaze, and the flame never cooled. Through three quarters, the Little Hawks were hitting nearly 70 percent of their shots.
Washpun, Joens and Lorenzen combined to make 22 of 34 field-goal attempts.
“Our big three were a really big three tonight,” said City Coach Bill McTaggart.
Kennedy (11-3, 6-2), on the other hand, was unnerved by the Little Hawks’ extended defense early on.
“We knew they were going to come out and pressure us,” said Kennedy’s Paige Hendrickson. “It was like we just wanted to get rid of the basketball, we wanted to rush our shots.”
The Cougars righted themselves somewhat in the second quarter, cutting a 12-point deficit to six on three occasions. The sequence of the game came in the final seconds of the half.
Down seven points, the Cougars had a layup blocked by Joens. The Little Hawks scurried downcourt, and Washpun beat the buzzer with a drive to put City High in front, 33-24, at the break.
The margin never wavered under eight points in the second half. City High hit 8 of 10 shots in the third quarter to extend the advantage to 55-37, and that was that.
Lorenzen was called for her third foul early in the third quarter. McTaggart left her in, and Lorenzen never picked up her fourth.
“That was a tough call,” McTaggart said. “Biggest gamble I had to make, and Haley played smart and stayed in there.”
Washpun is one of the state’s best long jumpers, and her speed and verticality was a factor all night.
“We knew she was going to dribble to her right,” Vis said. “You know a kid is quick when the coach knows and the players know she’s going to go right, and she still gets around you and gets to the rim.”
Washpun said, “If you wait long enough, you know the defense is going to get mis-focused. Once you notice that, you can blow past them. And (Lorenzen) set some good screens for me to get past them.”
Hendrickson scored 19 points to lead the Cougars. Stephanie Botkin added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Kennedy travels to Ames on Saturday.
“We’ve got to bounce back,” Vis said. “The mark of a good team is to stop losing streaks at one.”
IOWA CITY HIGH 67, CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 44
At C.R. Kennedy
IOWA CITY HIGH (67): Sara Blowers 0-2 1-2 1, Kiera Washpun 8-12 4-6 20, Sam Blowers 1-2 0-0 2, Courtney Joens 6-10 4-4 20, Haley Lorenzen 8-12 2-3 18, Kenya Earl 2-2 2-2 6, Sarah Plock 0-0 0-0 0, Peyton Koenig 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-40 13-17 67.
C.R. KENNEDY (44): Madi Meier 2-6 2-2 7, Jordan Holmes 1-7 0-0 2, Paige Hendrickson 7-15 4-5 19, Stephanie Botkin 4-11 4-6 12, Morgan Martin 2-5 0-0 4, Sydney Hayden 0-2 0-0 0, Carly Langhurst 0-0 0-0 0, Brinley Milbrath 0-1 0-0 0, Madi DeLong 0-1 0-0 0, Abby Hellweg 0-0 0-0 0, Mariah Vis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-49 10-13 44.
Halftime: City 33, Kennedy 24. 3-point goals: City 4-9 (Sara Blowers 0-1, Washpun 0-1, Joens 4-7), Kennedy 2-14 (Meier 1-3, Holmes 0-4, Hendrickson 1-4, Martin 0-1, Hayden 0-1, DeLong 0-1). Team fouls: City 10, Kennedy 14. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: City 30 (Washpun 11), Kennedy 22 (Botkin 8). Assists: City 14 (Washpun 5), Kennedy 5 (Martin 2). Steals: City 11 (Washpun, Lorenzen 3), Kennedy 14 (Holmes 5). Turnovers: City 18, Kennedy 14.
Bill McTaggart, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Courtney Joens, gallery, girls basketball, Haley Lorenzen, Iowa City High, Kiera Washpun, Mississippi Valley Conference, Paige Hendrickson, Stephanie Botkin, Tony Vis, video