The Young Colo-NESCO women’s team won six games in 2021-22

Wayne Cafferty, legendary head women’s basketball coach at Colo-NESCO, had a tough final season at the helm of the Royal program in 2021-22.

Cafferty retired at the end of the season after leading Colo-NESCO to 549 wins and five state tournament appearances in 26 years.

His last team was a young team that had to replace three starters from last year’s 11-9 team. The end result was a 6-17 season, the first Royal team with a losing record since 2010.

“We were very limited in our skills, our athleticism and our experience,” Cafferty said. “Our fundamentals aren’t where they should be for a high school team. It made it very difficult for us to break a press or score.”

Colo-NESCO fell to Class 3A powerhouse West Marshall (64-9), Lynnville-Sully (55-33) and eventual Iowa Star Conference South Division champion Baxter (61-22) in of his first three games. The Royals earned their first win on Dec. 3 with a 51-14 conference win over Valley Lutheran in Colo.

Colo-NESCO entered the Christmas break on a six-game losing streak after suffering losses to Riceville (50-12), Martensdale St. Marys (63-8), Meskwaki (56-34), North Tama ( 34-20), GMG (39-26) and Collins-Maxwell (72-4).

After the break, Colo-NESCO started to figure things out and had their best streak of the season.

The Royals defeated Don Bosco (39-9) and BGM (43-20) in their first two games after the break. After a 57-21 loss to Baxter, the Royals ended a season sweep of Valley Lutheran with a 58-30 win.

Colo-NESCO ended January with losses to Meskwaki (68-28), North Tama (44-27), GMG (42-28) and BCLUW (46-24). The Royals fell to Collins-Maxwell in the February opener, 51-22, but came back to win two of their last three regular season games.

The Royals beat Janesville, 36-35, on Feb. 3 and Melcher-Dallas, 40-34, on Feb. 5 in the final two home games of Cafferty’s career.

“The win from behind against Janesville and the win over Melcher Dallas were our biggest highlights,” Cafferty said.

They suffered a 48-14 loss at AGWSR in their final game of the regular season, then lost to Baxter in Regional 1A First Round, 53-7.

Cafferty said breaking the press and scoring were Colo-NESCO’s two biggest flaws. The Royals have averaged just 27.2 points and shot 24.7% from the field as a team and they have averaged 28 turnovers per game.

Cafferty said the team can be strong defensively when at the top of their game. The Royals allowed 45 points per game.

“We were able to do a decent job in our half-court defense when we were able to come back and prepare,” Cafferty said. “We were able to slow down some opponents with a box-and-one or a triangle-and-two.”

Senior guard Izabell Voelker led Colo-NESCO with 9.2 points per game. She also averaged 3.8 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 1.4 assists.

Junior forward Sophia Piziali averaged 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds. Senior forward Shelby Perisho averaged 3.6 points and 2.2 rebounds and junior Callie Kohlwes 3.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.3 assists.

Sophomore Sydney Ingle and junior Abigail Hostetler averaged 2.6 and 2.5 points respectively. Ingle also averaged 4.3 rebounds and Hostetler 2.7 boards.

Sophomore Gemma Bower averaged 3.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals for Colo-NESCO in 2021-22.

Junior Riley Handsaker averaged 1.8 points and 4.7 rebounds. Sophomore Gemma Bower had 1.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1 assist per game.

Seniors Taylor Cox and Hannah Jamison, junior Jessica Duran and rookie Molly Angell also contributed at the varsity level.

“We had a good senior class,” Cafferty said. “Izzy’s shooting ability will be missed next year.”

Although he won’t be returning next year, Cafferty wishes the best for the returning girls for 2022-23.

“The girls are going to have to work on their fundamentals in the offseason to be successful next season,” Cafferty said.

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