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HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS' BASKETBALL

High School Girls' Basketball: Cedar Falls comes up short against experienced Ankeny

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CEDAR FALLS – Ninth-ranked Ankeny rolled past Cedar Falls, 60-43, Tuesday, in a non-conference season opener at home for the Tigers.

Cedar Falls head coach Gregg Groen said it was a valuable learning experience more than it is a bitter loss.

Ankeny came in with an experienced team that made it all the way to the 5A regional finals against Des Moines Roosevelt. Cedar Falls, meanwhile, had considerable talent on the roster, but only one returning starter with Grace Knutson.

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“They’re a team that lost by two points to go to state last year and returned everybody and added a really good freshman player to their squad,” Groen said. “They’re probably a bit more in mid-season form already this year, just with so many returning players coming and did a nice job.”

The game started out with 18-9 finish in the first quarter and the Hawks built their lead up to 15 points at 34-19 going into halftime. The Tigers fought back in the second half, but weren’t able to keep up with the explosive offense and ironclad defense of their opponent as Ankeny lead by 18 after three, 51-33. 

Savannah Gage led the Hawks' effort with 17 total points, while Jenna Pitz put 15 points on the board.

Ankeny's defense kept pressure on Knutson throughout the game, but this didn’t stop her from sinking two three-pointers, three field goals and a pair of free throws for 12 of Cedar Falls’ 43 points. Karis Finley added 11 for the Tigers.

It wasn’t the ideal outcome, but according to Groen, the girls needed the competition and needed to know what they’d be up against as the season progresses.

“I think we need a game like this. We need a game in order to find the things that we need to work on. I think it will help the girls kind of realize what it is we need to do if we want to compete with the top teams in the state,” Groen said. “So hopefully, we learn from this and grow from this and come and find those things that we need to work on.”

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