Coming into their season-opener Tuesday, Nov. 23, the Anamosa girls’ basketball team, in front of a big home crowd, walked onto the floor with so much hope and expectation with the dawning of a new season.

Then almost immediately, that bounding excitement turned into a nightmare.

Mere minutes into their contest against visiting Tipton, junior Joslin Banowetz, the all-everything standout the Anamosa program desperately needs on the floor this season, was laying on it writhing in pain with an apparent knee injury.

After several fright-filled moments, Banowetz was taken to the Jones Regional Medical Center while her teammates, still shaken from the entire ordeal they witnessed, had to gather themselves together and finish out the season-opener against the Tigers.

Easier said than done.

But Raider girls’ basketball coach Angie Rieniets couldn’t have been prouder of the performance her girls gave under trying circumstances.

“When Joslin went down, we knew we were going to have to have some girls step up because she’s so important in what we do on both ends of the floor,” said Rieniets, as her team continued to fight showing an incredible amount of heart in what ended as a tough 47-28 defeat.

“Obviously, Joslin’s injury impacted the game quite a bit, but we did have quite a few girls really step it up the very best they could and I was extremely impressed by that. Everyone was able to keep their composure and finish the game. Yes, it didn’t go the way we hoped it would have at the end, but considering everything that happened, I was so impressed and so proud of all the girls who finished that game out. When things weren’t going our way and we were struggling with Tipton’s pressure, all of our girls were able to stay composed and just worked their way through it.”

Anamosa (0-1, 0-1) hung tough with the Tigers through the game’s opening quarter as Banowetz, Kala Dietiker, Kate Sander and Savanna Venenga all scored points in the first frame that ended in a 9-9 tie at the horn.

It was at that point that the game completely changed, as Tipton, using intense full-court pressure keyed by Banowetz not being on the floor, went on a 13-4 run to take a 22-13 lead at the half.

“Turnovers were a struggle, for both teams actually,” Lawrence said. “I thought we did a good job pressuring them too, but when we turn it over 33 times that’s a number that isn’t going to equate into any wins in any game.

Dietiker scored all of the Raiders’ second quarter points, and coming out of the break, while the offensive struggles continued, the team amazingly was able to keep a cool head.

Tipton’s pressure defense held the Raiders to a mere one third quarter point, coming on a Chloe Breitbach free throw, and heading into the final frame the hosts were staring at a 35-14 deficit.

“You would have never known what the score was by the way the girls were hustling all over the court,” Rieniets said. “If there was no scoreboard in the gym you would have thought it was a one-point game, and that effort and attitude really impressed me as well. That says a lot about the kids we have on this team and their character. They just will not quit, no matter the situation.”

After Tipton’s 13-1 third quarter run, Anamosa doubled their scoring from the first three quarters combined pouring in 14 over the final eight minutes.

“Kala’s shooting on the perimeter, Megan’s (Decker) work on the inside and Chloe’s ball handling all really impressed me as well, especially down the stretch,” Rieniets said. “The difference in the game to me was Tipton’s ability to make their inside shots.”

Decker had a big fourth quarter scoring all six of her points in the final frame while Dietiker led all Anamosa scorers coming through with eight points, six coming in the first half.

“The girls know what they need to do going forward,” Rieniets said. “We’re also hoping for some good news on Joslin too. Initially we thought it might have been a season-ending type of knee injury, but we’re hoping maybe she might be able to be back with us in a few weeks. We’ll just have to wait and see what the doctors say.”

Anamosa did manage to turn the Tigers over 35 times in the game, but 22-percent shooting from the field (9-of-41) and 17-percent (1-of-6) from 3-point land added to the Raiders’ struggles scoring points.

Cecilia Venenga led the charge for the Anamosa girls on the boards coming through with six of the team’s 26 total rebounds while Anna Rowley and Savanna Venenga added four more each. Lexi Bronemann was all over the court defensively leading the hosts with five steals while Breitbach added four more.

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