From the opening minute, the Indianola girls were ready to run.
The Indians poured in 59 points in the opening half and routed Des Moines East 74-28 Wednesday in a Class 5A regional quarterfinal basketball game.
The team’s pressure defense led to turnovers, which were converted into points.
“We started out strong defensively, and that’s what gave us a big start,” sophomore Trysta Hawkins said.
Indianola (now 16-6) led 29-3 after the first quarter. By halftime, it was 59-13.
“I challenged the girls to come out fast,” coach Jeff Janssen said.
That’s exactly what happened. Four Indians scored 10 or more points against 6-16 East: Lauren Blake led the way with 16, Kendall Clatt had 14 (including four 3-pointers), Alley May scored 13 and Brynn Ortlund added 10.
It was the team’s fourth consecutive victory and kicked off Indianola’s tournament play.
“Our energy never left,” sophomore Kinzey Johnston said. “We were super proud on the bench and jumping up and down.”
Eleven players scored in the game, and there was lots of enthusiasm as the bench players took to the court.
“You see your starters really cheering for the players at the end of the bench,” Hawkins said. “No matter who’s on the court, the energy is great.”
Indianola won the Little Hawkeye Conference title Saturday by beating Grinnell 69-65. That has given the Indians a whole new level of confidence.
“After our conference championship win, that’s really pushing us,” Johnston said.
Indianola faces a tough challenge Saturday. The Indians will play at 5 p.m. at Ankeny Centennial in a Class 5A regional semifinal. Jaguar coach Scott DeJong has won an Iowa-best seven state championships.
“Coach DeJong is one of the biggest names in the state,” Janssen said. “We’ll put together the best game plan we can. But we know we have a tall task ahead of us.”