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Triton women roll in season opener

Kelly Kruger saw plenty of positives, areas that need to be improved and just about everything in between from his Iowa Central women’s basketball team Sunday night.

In the end, the Tritons walked out of Hodges Fieldhouse with a 75-49 victory over William Penn JV in the season opener.

Aaliyah Hull and Justice Crooks each had double-doubles, with two others reaching double figures in scoring. Hull had a team-high 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Crooks added 12 and 10 with five assists, and both Isabell West and Anni Cummings combined for 23 points.

“We saw things we can work on in practice before we play Marshalltown on Tuesday,” Kruger said. “I liked a lot of what I saw out on the court. We had good energy and pushed the ball up the floor.

“At times, we played really well. And at other times, we had some troubles. But it was a good opener.”

The Tritons (1-0 overall) dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Statesmen, 52-32. William Penn did hold a 15-14 edge on the offensive boards, which concerned Kruger.

“We really struggled there in the first half, giving them too many second-chance points,” he said. “I did think we were better in the second half in that area.”

Hull, Crooks and Mardaeja Cross are all sophomores this year with the rest of the roster filled out by newcomers. Hull hit 5 of 10 shots from the field and 6 of 7 free throws, adding a pair of blocks to her night.

Crooks, a former Fort Dodge Senior High standout, made six field goals, with Cross adding four points and a pair of boards.

West, the younger sister of recently-graduated Iowa Central standout Brittany West, had 12 points and Cummings scored 11 with a trio of 3-pointers. Both are freshmen along with Avery Tilley, who scored eight, and Jacie Stephenson, who added six and eight boards.

“It was really good for the freshmen to get that first game experience out of the way,” Kruger said. “It’s a different pace of play but I thought they adjusted nicely.”

Iowa Central returns to action on Tuesday when they host Marshalltown back here for a 5:30 p.m. tip.

IOWA CENTRAL 75, WILLIAM PENN JV 49

Iowa Central – Aaliyah Hull 5-10 6-7 16, Isabell West 4-5 4-8 12, Mardaeja Cross 2-4 0-0 4, Justice Crooks 6-10 0-0 12, Anni Cummings 4-9 0-0 11, Auriyah Stewart 2-7 0-0 4, Avery Tilley 3-6 0-0 8, Jordan Engbrecht 1-3 0-0 2, Amya Milligan 0-1 0-0 0, Jesirae Berthoud 0-0 0-0 0, Kae’la Jackson 0-1 0-0 0, Jacie Stephenson 3-3 0-0 6, Jhordyn Chalmers 0-1 0-0 0, K’Breonna Collins 0-0 0-0 0, Arthel Massaquoi 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 30-60 10-15 75.

William Penn JV – Drew Becker 10, Asia Pasley 2, Ivy Hirsch 7, Kat Lopez 6, NaTracia Caesar 15, Alexis Burch 1, Miriah Donelson 8.

Quarter scores: Iowa Central led 21-13, 33-16, 58-33. 3-point goals: Iowa Central 5-17 (Cummings 3, Tilley 2); William Penn JV 3-23. Total rebounds: Iowa Central 52, William Penn JV 32. Steals: Iowa Central 7, William Penn JV 7. Blocked shots: Iowa Central 4, William Penn JV 4. Assists: Iowa Central 13, William Penn JV 7.