Sioux Center Warriors, Bishop Heelan Crusaders battle for spots in IGHSAU state championship

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 11:57 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) - Thursday was day 4 of the IGHSAU State Basketball Tournament and it was time for the semifinals. 2 Siouxland squads remained, and they would battle it out for spots in their championship games.

First up was the Sioux Center Warriors taking on Solon. This one would come all the way down to the wire. Solon had a chance for a game winner, but the Sioux Center Warriors would come out on top winning 46-44, and they are going to the championship.

A big moment in the game came when Sioux Center’s Taya Gesink took a charge in the second quarter. Sioux Center Head Coach Doug Winterfeld spoke after the game about how important that play was.

“Taya Gesink, we won that game because she got that charge,” said Winterfeld. “I told the girls at halftime if we win this game, it’s because she took a charge on their best player. [Gesink] got injured, won’t be able to play the rest of the tournament, but that was the changing point.”

Sioux Center senior Willow Bleeker also talked about the excitement of reaching the championship game.

“Yeah, right now I am just trying to soak it all in,” said Bleeker. “This is a dream come true being able to play for a championship game in basketball so yeah, just soaking it all in, having fun with my teammates.”

Sioux center advances to the championship game where they will take on Benton. Tip is set for 8 pm Friday, March 3rd.

Next on the docket was the Bishop Heelan Crusaders taking on the North Polk Comets. Heelan would start off with an 11-2 run, but North Polk would come charging back. After a bucket late in the second quarter by Heelan sophomore Abby Lee, the Comets came down the court and banked in a 3 pointer at the buzzer to put them ahead 7 going into the half. Later in the 3rd quarter with just half a second left, North Polk’s Makaila Boatman hit yet another buzzer beater to keep the Comet lead at 7, and they would hold it all the way through the 4th to take the win, 53-41.

After the game, Heelan head coach Darron Koolstra said that despite the loss, it’s been a pleasure to coach this group.

“You know there’s a lot of really, really good high school kids who don’t get to play at Wells Fargo Arena,” said Koolstra. “There’s a lot of really, really good coaches who never get to coach at the state tournament. “We are blessed to have the group of kids that we have that battle every night, battle every day. They come to practice, they follow our game plan, they do everything we ask.”

Junior Brooklyn Stanley also spoke about what made this team so special.

“One thing about our team is we hustle no matter what,” said Stanley. “We give everything we’ve got into every game we play ,110 percent. We play together.”

Congratulations to Bishop Heelan on an outstanding season.