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Redhawks start off 2019 with rough road losses

January 10, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

After starting the season 8-2, 2019 has not been as kind to the North Tama boys basketball team as they dropped two games on the road to Belle Plaine 81-63 on Monday and Meskwaki 63-49 on Tuesday.

The Redhawks competed in their first game since before Christmas break against Belle Plaine, opening the first half with shots falling and plenty of fouls on both sides as both squads play a physical style of basketball. Tensions mounted as Belle Plaine pushed out a 34-33 lead in the half. Coming out of the locker room, it was mainly all Plainsmen buckets as the home team outscored North Tama 22-12 in the third quarter. The visiting crowd took issue with several calls against the Redhawks as Belle Plaine continued to attack the basket and make shots to win 81-63.

"I thought we came out against Belle Plaine with a good energy level and executing," Tagtow said. "By the third quarter, we got caught up everything around us. They play physical, which bother us and sucked our energy."

Article Photos

Ryan McLean goes up for a layup against the Meskwaki Warriors on Tuesday, Jan. 8. McLean had 11 points in the road loss.

The Redhawks didn't have much time to stew over the loss as they traveled to Meskwaki the next day for their second game against their Iowa Star Conference rivals, North Tama emerging victorious at home 54-51 earlier this season.

"During my entire time at North Tama, we've had great, competitive games against Meskwaki," Tagtow said. "We've won tight games, they've won some. They have some talented players and are coming off some losses in a row, so they certainly weren't going to lie down for us."

And indeed the home Warriors were ready to play as they used their speed for easy transition buckets and effective ball movement inside to quickly go up double digits. As the Redhawks struggled with their outside shot, Meskwaki hit from everywhere on the floor. By the halftime buzzer, Meskwaki was up 36-22 despite some foul trouble with their short bench.

"They came out hard from the start, getting out in transition for layups, getting offensive rebounds and outworked us in the first half," Tagtow. "Credit them for their great start and I feel it took us two and half quarters to really get it going with our own effort."

Once the Redhawks began to strike back, the game plan shifted to attack the basket and fouled out two Meskwaki players within the span of several minutes. With a new breath of life in them, North Tama looked to cut the deficit in the waning minutes of the final quarter. Several critical shots by the Warriors kept their lead intact as they won 63-49.

"It's not a coincidence those players fouled out then because that's when we were playing hard and with great effort," Tagtow said. "We just wanted to keep this game going, but we took so long to get to the point and expended so much energy we didn't have enough at the end to finish."

Hulme led the way for the Redhawks with 20 points, four rebounds and two steals. Joining him in double figures was Ryan McLean with 11 points, five rebounds and four steals while Zach Greiner has eight points. While Noah Bond was held to five points, the senior continued to be a force on the boards with eight rebounds.

"I feel spread out is a good way to put what we want from our offense," Tagtow said. "We obviously run a lot through Hale, but we need to get a little bit from everybody. We've lost a couple games in a row because we're only getting spurts from guys. It's got to be more than one guy doing this."

The two losses are North Tama first back-to-back losses of the season as the Redhawks have already matched their win total from last season with nine regular season games left in 2019. Tagtow sees a difference in the team as they welcome Cael Even back into the lineup after an injury, but believes they can turn their season back on track by remember what made them successful earlier in the season.

"This is our first time being in this situation this season, so I think we have to get back to what brought us here," Tagtow said. "The first half of season before Christmas, we had great effort and we shot the ball really well. Those are missing from these games. We need to go back to those basics and fuel us the rest of season. It's easier to sprint back on defense when you're making shots."

North Tama returns home on Friday, Jan. 11 to take on Colo-Nesco and then West Marshall on Friday, Jan. 18. The Redhawks are 8-4 on the season and remain in a strong position for the Iowa Star South Division title. Photos from the Meskwaki game are available at



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