Thursday is State Semi Final day for area Basketball Teams

ighsauDes 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.

De Groot to Play for NWC

Northwestern logoOrange City, Iowa — Cruise De Groot has signed a letter of intent to continue his football career at Northwestern College next fall.

De Groot is a 6’10”, 230-pound defensive lineman who played one year for Western Christian High School. De Groot accounted for 50.5 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery as a senior. He was part of a Wolfpack team that finished as the class 1A state runner-up with an 11-3 record. De Groot is the son of Doug and Lee.

“Cruise played a vital role in helping Western Christian reach the championship game last fall,” commented head Northwestern football coach Matt McCarty. “He understands what it takes to play at a high level and I look forward to working with him as part of our defensive line.”

Sioux Center Falls in 3A Quarterfinals

warriors logoDes Moines Iowa — Sioux Center fell to defending 3A State champion Nevada Tuesday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the State Tournament in Des Moines. Nevada showed its championship mettle moving another step closer to a second straight title game appearance. The Cubs overcome a nine-point deficit and some early shooting problems to beat Sioux Center 59-44.

Sioux Center jumped to an early 15-6 lead and led 22-15 late in the first half when the third-ranked Cubs began their comeback.They scored the final seven points of the half to tie it, then went ahead to stay with a 14-6 burst to open the second half. Sophomore Lexy Koudelka capped that run with a three-point play off a spinning drive, putting the Cubs up 36-28.

Koudelka, an all-tournament selection last year, led all scorer with 29 points. She went 9-for-12 from the field, including a 3-pointer, made all 10 of her free throws and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Another all-tournament pick from 2015, Kati Cassabaum, added 11 points and six blocks for the Cubs, who returned all five starters from their championship team.

Lexi Toering led seventh-ranked Sioux Center with 13 points and Hannah Dykshorn scored 10. Nevada made 13 of 17 shots in the second half — 76.5 percent — after shooting only 33 percent in the opening two quarters. Still, the Cubs had to work to keep the Warriors at bay.

Sioux Center trailed just 48-42 after Dykshorn’s 3-pointer with 3:14 left. Nevada quickly got the ball inside to the 6-foot-1 Koudelka, who converted a three-point play to return the lead to nine. After Nevada’s Abby Stephenson drove the baseline for a reverse layup, Koudelka sank four more free throws and soon was headed to the bench with the rest of the starters.

Nevada is now 22-3 heading into a semifinal game with No. 2 Center Point-Urbana at 6:45 p.m. Thursday. Sioux Center finishes 20-5.

Boys State Basketball Brackets

Des Moines Iowa — It’s been another highlight year for northwest Iowa Boys basketball with 2 teams making the Championship game for their respective classes.

Class 1A

(24-3) South O’Brien takes on (17-9) Council Bluffs St. Albert Friday, March 11th in the Class 1A Championship at 6:05 pm.

Class 2A

(24-2) Western Christian vs (22-3) Cascade, Western Dubuque Friday, March 11th in the Class 2A Championship at 8:05 pm

Both games can be heard on KIWA FM 105.3 and at

For a look at all the brackets in their entirety click on the link below


Sioux Center Opens Tourney Play Tuesday

warriors logoDes Moines Iowa — Sioux Center opens State Girls Basketball Tournament play Tuesday afternoon in the 3A quarterfinals. The Warriors take a 20-4 record into the tournament against 21-3 Nevada with a 5:00 pm opening tip.

The Warriors feature three players averaging double figures. Jessica Harald averages 10.5 points per game. Jordyn Van Maanen 10.4 and Lexi Toering 10 points per game. Both Harald and Van Maanen are 35 percent plus shooters from behind the arc.

Toering leads the team in rebounds with 195 and steals with 107. Van Maanen is the assists leader with 80.

Nevada also has three players averaging double figures. Lexy Koudelka averages 13.3 points per game with Kati Cassabaum at 12 points per game and Alli Fey at 10.3 per game.

Koudelka is the rebounding leader with 157. Abby Stephenson leads the team in steals with 74. Cassabaum has 89 assists and 73 blocked shots on the season.

Also of interest to area fans will be the 1:30 quarterfinal between 22-2 Cherokee and 21-3 Osage. The semi finals in 3A are set for Thursday at 5:00 and 6:45 pm.

Knights Advance to Semifinal

unity logoDes Moines, Iowa — Defending 2A State Champion Unity Christian would come away with a hard fought  52-33 victory over West Branch in Des Moines Tuesday night.

The Knights and Bears would trade 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. The Bears of West Branch were led by Paige Miller with 8 points.

Unity improves to 23-1 on the year and will play the winner of Iowa City Regina and Manson-Northwest Webster on Thursday, March 3rd at 3:15 pm in a Class 2A Semifinal. West Branch finishes at 21-4