Des Moines Iowa — Four northwest Iowa teams will compete in the semi final round of the Iowa Girls Basketball Tournament Thursday. Three in 2A and 1 in Class 3A. Okoboji and Western Christian will meet in the upper bracket 2A semi with defending champion Unity Christian squaring off against Iowa City Regina in the lower bracket semi. In Class 3A Cherokee will be in the upper bracket semi against Pocahontas Area.
Western and Okoboji will roll off first meeting at 1:30 Thursday afternoon.Western Christian weathered a late Central Decatur charge for a 61-50 victory Monday evening in the quarterfinals. In the opening period of their Monday quarterfinal , top ranked Western Christian focused on the long range game, getting 15 1st quarter points from beyond the arc. Heading into the 2nd quarter, the score was 17-4 Wolfpack. The Wolfpack would shift gears in the second quarter, focusing their skills to inside the paint. Heading into the halftime break it was 32-15 in favor of Western Christian. After three, the Wolfpack would push the score to 46-34. Central Decatur would have momentum shift their way in the final 8 minutes. Midway through the final quarter, the Cardinals would pull to within single digits, getting as close as 6 points late in the game, but key free throws would seal the deal for Western, and give them the 61-50 victory.The Wolfpack had 3 players in double figures. Ashtyn Veerbeek put in a game 21 high points, Kaira Moss added 14, and Erika Feenstra finished with 10 points.
Okoboji’s all-senior lineup did just what a coach expects from a veteran group. When things got tough, the Pioneers kept their cool and came through with a comeback victory 48-44 over Pekin in their quarterfinal win. Pekin controlled the first half with its sticky defense and led 26-12 after Gwynne Wright’s 3-pointer at the 5:53 mark in the third quarter. But the Lady Panthers went more than 5 1/2 minutes before getting another basket and Okoboji stormed back. A 17-1 run gave Okoboji its first lead at 29-27 late in the third quarter, and the Pioneers went ahead when Shaelyn Adams hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to make it 38-35. Their lead grew to six before Pekin rattled off five quick points to draw the score to 43-42 with 1:09 to play. Megan Peschong then sank four straight free throws and Brenna McCabe added one to finish it off.
Molly Mitchell led the charge for Okoboji with 19 points and nine rebounds. Peschong went 8-for-8 at the line in the final 1:23 and finished with 14 points, while Emily Wintz added eight for the Pioneers, who made it to state for the first time.Tip off for the (23-2) Wolfpack and (24-1) Pioneers will be at 1:30 Thursday afternoon. We’ll open pregame on KIWA FM 105.3 at 1:15.
In the lower bracket of 2A Unity and Iowa City Regina will tip off at 3:15. Defending 2A State Champion Unity Christian came away with a hard fought 52-33 victory over West Branch in the quarterfinals Monday night.
The Knights and Bears traded baskets throughout the first quarter. After the opening quarter, Unity had the slight advantage 8-7. West Branch would go on a 6-0 run early in the 2nd quarter, but Unity would then go on a 9-0 run of their own. Heading into the intermission, Unity would lead 17-15. The Knights would create some type of separation in the 3rd quarter. By the quarter’s end, Unity would lead 32-25. In the final quarter, Anna Kiel and company would put the game away with a 52-33. Unity had 2 players in double figures. Chanda Zomermaand had a game high 19 points and Anna Kiel added 16 of her own.
Iowa City Regina started fast and just kept going in their quarterfinal win Tuesday morning.The unbeaten and second-ranked Regals got 27 points from Mary Crompton and beat No. 7 Manson-Northwest Webster 59-47 to complete the 2A quarterfinals. Crompton, one Iowa’s fine sophomores, scored 13 points in the first quarter to help Regina build a 20-13 lead and the Regals were in control the rest of the way. The 5-foot-8 guard went 5-for-8 from 3-point range, grabbed five rebounds and handed out three assists.Sarah Lehman added 14 points and six rebounds for Regina, while Kennedy Brown grabbed 2 rebounds to go with six points, helping Regina to a 29-19 edge on the boards. Unity enters the semis at 23-1 with Regina coming in at 25-0.
In Class 3A (23-2) Cherokee will be in the upper bracket semifinals against top ranked Pocahontas Area (25-0). In a game that had both teams going up and down the court, two steals in the the final seconds helped close the deal for Cherokee. The result was a 72-67 victory over Osage that sends the fourth-ranked Braves into a semifinal showdown with No. 1 Pocahontas.
Cherokee was clinging to a 68-67 lead and on defense when freshman Payton Slaughter swiped the ball and fed Kaely Hummel for a layup that made it 70-67. Sophomore Paityn Hagberg then stole the ball after Osage got it up the floor and was fouled. She made both free throws with 14.7 seconds left to wrap it up for Cherokee. Hummel, who has signed with Sioux Falls University, finished with 29 points to lead all scorers. She also grabbed 11 rebounds, handed out two assists and came up with two steals.
Pocahontas Area rolled to an 83-43 win over unranked Mount Vernon. Tip off for the 3A semi final will be at 5:00 pm.