MOC-Floyd Valley showed there's more to its team than Alexis Conaway. A lot more.
With Conaway held in check by a box-and-1 defense, her teammates came through in a big way and the top-ranked Lady Dutch beat No. 6 Unity Christian 63-57 to win the Class 3A state championship in an all-Orange City final.
Katie Landhuis hit five first-half 3-pointers to help MOC-Floyd Valley get the lead and finished with 21 to lead the Lady Dutch, who had to play some critical minutes late in the game while Conaway was on the bench with four fouls.
Emily McDonald added 13 points for the new champs, while Bre Harmelink had 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Conaway, who scored a tournament record 46 points against Mediapolis in the semifinals, became a role player in this one. She took only six shots and wound up with nine points, five rebounds and four assists. She was named captain of the all-tournament team.
Kassidy DeJong led Unity Christian with 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. Sophomore Anna Kiel shot 9-for-12 from the field for 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
MOC-Floyd Valley, which beat Unity 52-40 in mid-December, finished the first half with a 16-3 run to open a 34-22 lead. The Lady Dutch stayed comfortably ahead until Conaway went to the bench after getting her fourth foul with 1:50 left in the third quarter.
When she returned with 5:10 left in the game, Unity Christian had cut the lead to 53-48, with DeJong scoring seven points in a 9-3 run. An NBA range 3 by DeJong drew the Knights to 59-57 with 1:04 remaining, but Conaway sank two free throws 22 seconds later, and after Unity missed a 3-point attempt, Breanne Schuiteman sank two free throws to finish it off.
With the game hanging in balance, the Lady Dutch were steady at the line, making eight straight free throws in the final 3:15.
MOC-Floyd Valley adds its first basketball title to the two consecutive state championships it has won in volleyball. The Lady Dutch finish 26-1, with the only loss to 4A tournament qualifier Sioux City Bishop Heelan. Unity finishes 22-5.
"We put in a heck of a lot of effort this year, and it ends with this, which is just a blessing for our team," said MOC-Floyd Valley Head Coach Gary Richardson.
"It was a tremendous second half, and we were fighting as hard as we could," said Unity junior guard Kassidy De Jong. "It was a good game. We don't have anything to hang our heads about because we got to the championship, so that's really exciting."
"I couldn't ask for a better ending," said MOC-FV senior forward Alexis Conaway. "Not so much just the ending, but the entire journey is what I'll remember. I've had such awesome teammates in volleyball and basketball. We've grown so close together. I thank God for every one of them. It's just bittersweet now that it's over."
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