The Redhawks rarely found their offensive rhythm Monday.
Fortunately, their defense more than compensated.
Breaking things open with a pair of 10-0 runs, the North Tama girls basketball team rallied behind a stifling defensive effort to dispatch Dunkerton 38-28 in an Iowa Star Conference clash Monday.
North Tama’s Josie Youel leaps past a Dunkerton defender for two points during the 38-28 conference victory on Monday.
Defense was at the forefront of both Redhawk rallies as North Tama's swarming half-court trap led to breakaway baskets. Leading 21-13 early in the third, Sam Zobel cued up the Redhawks' second surge with a basket before Emma Knoop and Josie Youel added layups.
"The girls really reached down when the offense wasn't working and got the defense rolling," said North Tama coach Phil Moss.
"Dunkerton likes to run and they're quick like us. Our defense was a little bit stronger than theirs, which gave us that edge."
An Abi Watson putback and another steal and layup from Anna Kvidera gave North Tama (9-11, 9-7) an 18-point advantage with 1:50 left in the quarter, before the Raiders regrouped with nine unanswered.
Emilee Miller's free throws trimmed the lead to 31-22 with just under eight minutes to play, though both offenses stalled for the next three minutes in a physical contest. Allison Zobel all but sealed the win with a 3-pointer pushing the lead back to 12 with 4:48 to play as Dunkerton didn't get below double-digits the rest of the way.
"That was a good shot by Allie," Moss said of the 3-pointer that halted Dunkerton's 9-0 run.
"That was kind of the story of what we had. We'd get a little flat and then we'd have a big shot, which would help propel the defense."
Allison Zobel led all scorers with 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while pacing the Redhawks with nine points in the first half. She hit a pair of treys in the first as North Tama jumped out to a 13-4 advantage late in the opening frame. The Redhawks' aggressive defense also allowed some free throw opportunities for Dunkerton, which failed to take advantage by making just 5-of-12 in the first half.
The Raiders (9-13, 8-9) pulled within 13-7 before Zobel added a 3-point play and the Redhawks took a 21-9 cushion into intermission.
Aubrey Duncan and Alece Kimbal led the Raiders with 10 points apiece, while Watson added seven points, seven rebounds and five steals for North Tama. Sam Zobel chipped in six points, six blocks and five boards.
The Redhawks, who finished fifth in the Iowa Star Conference and third in the South Division, face Iowa Valley on the road Saturday in Marengo at 7 p.m. in their Class 2A Region 3 opener.