Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Bill McTaggart issued a halftime challenge to Kiera Washpun.
She took it to heart. And she took it to the court.
Washpun ignited a third-quarter surge as Class 5A seventh-ranked Iowa City High downed Iowa City West, 65-52, in a non-conference girls' basketball game Friday night at West High School.
"Coach wanted me to turn it up in every area," Washpun said.
Scoring. Rebounding. Distributing. Defending. Washpun did it all in the second half as City High (10-2) turned a nailbiter into a comfortable victory.
It was 27-24 at halftime. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Little Hawks enjoyed a 22-point lead.
And thus ended a big, big week for City High. First, it handled then-No. 2 Muscatine. Then, it whipped its crosstown rival.
Maybe the holiday break is coming at a bad time. The Little Hawks have some serious momentum going.
"We've got it rolling a little bit right now," McTaggart said. "I hope we can continue to improve."
Four City High players reached double figures -- freshman Courtney Joens tallied 19, Haley Lorenzen 16, Washpun 13 and Aliyah Gustafson 11 -- and that was plenty to offset a 26-point, 13-rebound outing by West's Ally Disterhoft -- a University of Iowa recruit.
"They had more weapons than we did tonight," said West Coach B.J. Mayer. "We need to get tougher. They got most of the loose balls. They got too many offensive rebounds.
"We really look to Ally right now, probably too much. We've got to have other people step up, and I think it will happen."
West (6-3) broke to an 8-2 lead, then Lorenzen scored three straight baskets in a stretch in which City High grabbed six offensive rebounds.
City High closed the first half with a 9-2 run for a 27-24 halftime lead, then busted it open with a decisive 23-10 margin in the third quarter.
Washpun filled the stat sheet nicely: Seven rebounds, six assists, five steals.
Nine of her 13 points came in third-quarter City wave.
"I attribute that to a halftime talk," McTaggart said. "I just told her better she could play better than she had been."
Then, she did.
"He wanted me to play better defense on Ally," Washpun said. "Once you slow her down, the whole team shuts down a little bit."
Both teams have two weeks off before resuming Jan. 4.