All-area basketball teams: commitment to defense fuels the fire for continued success

Trojans swept the NICL West basketball championships this winter.

The South Tama girls ran through the conference in their first year in the league, while the West Marshall boys made it four titles in four years as an NICL West member.

There was no secret that both teams were going to get after it on the defensive end of the floor.

Those defenders of the basket – Madison Baier of South Tama and Michael Newton of West Marshall – have been selected as the Times-Republican All-Area Basketball Players of the Year.

Baier was a four-year standout for the STC girls. As a senior this winter, the 6-foot-4 NICL West Outstanding Player Baier averaged 15.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game.

The 76 total blocks by the consensus first team all-stater were fourth-most in Class 3A.

The Trojans (21-3) ranked sixth in 3A in scoring defense at 38.2 points per game. The Iowa State University recruit Baier altered many shots during her time at STC and finished with 337 blocks for her career (top 20 all-time in state history).

Baier also finished with 1,129 points and 848 rebounds in her career. She was the 2011 T-R All-Area Player of the Year as well.

STC’s only 5-on-5 state tournament appearance came in 2011, while the program’s first conference championships were achieved in each of the last two seasons.

The South Tama girls were joined by the West Marshall boys as owning the state’s No. 1 ranking during the winter.

West Marshall won its first 23 games of the year before losing in the substate final.

The NICL West Outstanding Player Newton averaged 16.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.

The Trojans of West Marshall were the top defense in Class 2A in scoring average at 37.5 points per game. Only one team scored more than 50 points against them all season.

The 6-foot-6 senior Newton, a first team all-state selection by the Iowa Newspaper Association, finished fourth in 2A in blocks.

Newton also was second in 2A in field goal shooting at 68 percent. He will play collegiately at Briar Cliff next season.

The girls’ All-Area first team has one repeat selection in addition to Baier in North Tama’s Kailey Kladivo.

The first team all-state senior averaged 17.4 points and 13.7 rebounds per game for the state tournament-qualifier Redhawks and had 1,314 points and 1,059 rebounds in her career.

Marshalltown junior forward Eisha Oden gained first team honors after leading the Bobcats in scoring (8.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.5 rpg). Oden finished second in 4A in rebounds per game.

Newton and West Marshall senior teammate Dalton Ferch are the repeat first team selections on the boys’ team. Ferch averaged 10.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3 steals per game.

For his career, Ferch had 237 steals – ranking him in the top 30 in Iowa history.

Marshalltown senior guard Austin Hauser gained first team recognition. Hauser led the Bobcats with 13.4 points per game, 48 made 3-point field goals and 79 assists. He is sixth on the MHS career 3-point list (77).