The IMS girls took down the HLV Warriors on Senior Day inside of Hillcrest Union with a commanding 81-43 victory.
IMS won the opening tip and jumped on the board first behind a bucket inside from senior forward Ava Hughes that engaged the crowd immediately. Senior forward Rubye Ney followed it up with a jumper from the free throw line on the following possession, and senior point guard Suzanna Yoder got in on the action moments later when she knocked down a deep contested three. HLV withstood the hot start from the home squad and knocked down five first half threes, but IMS’s execution off set pieces, excellent ball movement and up-tempo transition sent them into the locker room with a 43-27 lead at the break.
“We did some excellent things offensively in the first half,” IMS head coach Kari Heusinkveld said. “Our execution and transition continue to be solid, and our ball movement gets better each game. I really wasn’t impressed with our defense in the first half though. We didn’t do a good enough job getting out on shooters or defending ball screens and a huge part of that was just poor communication. Locking in on defense was the big challenge we brought to the girls at halftime.”
Both teams got off to a slow start to begin the third, but it was the Warriors that went on an 8-2 run over three minutes which forced an IMS timeout at the 3:25 mark. Out of the timeout IMS responded and closed out the quarter with a 9-3 run. IMS continued to push the pace and with an offensive explosion went on a 17-0 run over the next three minutes and opened up a 35-point lead. With just a couple minutes left in regulation, the IMS crowd took to their feet as they subbed out their three seniors; Hughes, Ney and Yoder. The home squad closed out the game only giving up three points in the final stanza.
“This game was a lot of fun and I’m glad we could end the regular season for our seniors on a note like this,” Heusinkveld said. “Our seniors accounted for 64% of our offense, that’s pretty neat. Suzanna had an incredible week and put up 80 points in two games, not too many people can do that. Rubye was a monster on the glass and shot the ball with confidence. And how about Ava, it was a such a special moment to see her knock down the opening shot. Our senior manager Gretta Rempel helped make sure we had everything we needed today as usual, and every person on our varsity roster scored tonight. You can’t ask for much more.”
Yoder led all scorers with 35 points, 7 assists, five rebounds and two steals. Ney set a new career high and recorded a double-double with 15 points, 15 rebounds and picked up four steals. Yani Gutierrez-Larios added seven points, six assists, five steals and five rebounds. Mia Graber and Esther Hughes chipped in six points apiece while Meredith Blossom added four. Hughes, Sarena Gerber, Sarah Miller and Leah Bontrager rounded out the scoring with a bucket each.
IMS finishes the regular season 9-10 overall, 6-8 in conference play. IMS returns to action at Hillcrest Union as they host the first round of Regionals on Thursday, February 7th against Iowa Valley at 7 PM.