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Von Banks, Warriors quiet Bulldogs in TOI girls hoops

GIVING A GIFT — North Union forward Olivia Von Bank (on floor) scrambles to collect the loose basketball before giving it to teammate Lily Henderson for a breakaway opportunity during Top of Iowa Conference action Monday night in Armstrong. The Warriors’ Vanessa Von Bank (13) and Lake Mills guard Natalie Brandenburg watch the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ARMSTRONG — Olivia Von Bank produced a game-best double-double performance to celebrate her 16th birthday in style Monday night.

The 5-foot-8 sophomore power forward collected 18 points and 10 rebounds to complement five steals and a game-leading five assists to help the North Union Warriors leash the Lake Mills Bulldogs, 54-21, in Top of Iowa Conference basketball action in Armstrong.

Senior guard Vanessa Von Bank joined her younger sibling’s birthday gala by connecting for three 3-pointers en route to 11 points, while freshman guard Naomi Jones contributed seven points, five boards and three assists off the Warriors’ bench.

“Our full-court pressure created a lot of early chances for us again,” said North Union head coach Merle Tigges, whose lineup pocketed 21 steals to help force 29 Bulldog turnovers on the night.

Cassie Beadle generated half of her game-leading six steals in spearheading the Warriors’ smothering backcourt coverage that served as the catalyst to a 9-0 offensive outburst to open the league clash.

Beadle drove the lane for two of her six points before garnering a sideline theft and spotted Vanessa Von Bank for a right-wing 3. Sam Nielsen sank a solo free throw after pulling down one of her seven rebounds, Olivia Von Bank drove to the rack for a deuce and Nielsen added another charity toss.

Brooke Bergo, who topped Lake Mills with nine points and seven boards, tossed in a baseline runner to finally end the visitors’ drought with 4:20 left in the opening quarter.

Beadle followed with a baseline leaner before Olivia Von Bank reeled off three consecutive baskets to bridge the first and second segments.

“I just came into the game with a good mentality tonight,” said Olivia Von Bank. “I was ready to play and hit my shots early.

“Our coaches (Tigges and assistant coach Joel Klocke) talked about Lake Mills having one of their bigs (6-foot center Ella Stene) out, and I was able to take advantage of the mismatch in the post.”

Olivia Von Bank utilized a nifty spin in the paint to convert a Jones assist into a 13-2 lead for the Warriors after one quarter completed. The sophomore forward then cashed in respective low-post entry passes from Jones and Alivia Charlton to extend the home team’s lead to 17-2 early in the second quarter.

Finley Rogstad later nailed a left-wing trey to slice the Bulldogs’ deficit to 20-9 only to watch as the Warriors assembled a 9-0 scoring avalanche. Olivia Von Bank threaded a pass to Nielsen for a baseline basket before making a diving steal to the hardwood and flipping a perfect lead pass to Vanessa Von Bank for a fastbreak lay-in.

Jones later hit a left-corner 3 off an Olivia Von Bank assist before Olivia Von Bank hit another turnaround from the low post off a Beadle pass for a 29-9 lead with time winding down before intermission.

Bergo opened the third quarter with an end-to-end drive for Lake Mills, but North Union answered with an 11-0 scoring surge to put the game out of reach at 43-14 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining before the start of the fourth frame.

Vanessa Von Bank drilled her third 3 of the game to highlight the run before Jones and Olivia Von Bank traded scorer and passer roles to close out the run.

Nielsen finished with six points and seven boards for the Warriors, while Beadle supplied six points, six steals and four assists. Charlton added eight rebounds and a game-best four blocked shots.

Brynn Rognes shared team-best rebounding honors with Bergo by pulling down seven caroms, while Natalie Brandenburg pocketed a team-best five steals.

North Union (6-3) is idle until Tuesday, Jan. 5, when it travels to Eagle Grove, Iowa. Lake Mills (1-8) also is idle during the holiday break and returns to action Tuesday, Jan. 5, when it plays host to North Iowa.

NORTH UNION (54)

O. Von Bank 9-15 0-4 18, V. Von Bank 4-6 0-2 11, Nielsen 2-7 2-4 6, Beadle 3-5 0-0 6, Henderson 1-7 0-0 2, Charlton 0-1 1-2 1, Jones 3-4 0-0 7, Stevens 1-4 0-0 2, Fraker 0-0 1-2 1, Merrill 0-0 0-2 0, Ulrich 0-1 0-0 0, Engelby 0-1 0-0 0, Burt 0-2 0-0 0, Sandvig 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 4-16 54.

LAKE MILLS (21)

Bergo 4-10 1-6 9, Rognes 0-3 0-1 0, Brandenburg 1-12 1-3 3, Moen 0-6 0-0 0, Helgeson 1-5 0-1 3, Rogstad 1-4 0-2 3, Hanna 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 8-41 3-15 21.

3-pointers: North Union 4-11 (V. Von Bank 3, Jones 1); Lake Mills 2-15 (Helgeson and Rogstad 1 each). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: North Union 40 (O. Von Bank 10, Charlton 8); Lake Mills 34 (Bergo and Rognes 7 each). Assists: North Union 17 (O. Von Bank 5, Beadle 4); Lake Mills 3. Steals: North Union 21 (Beadle 6, O. Von Bank 5); Lake Mills 9 (Brandenburg 5). Blocked shots: North Union 4 (Charlton 4).

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