Iowa girls teams fight for championship spots on day 5 of the IGHSAU State Basketball Tournament

Published: Mar. 4, 2023 at 12:15 AM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) - Day 5 at the IGHSAU State Basketball Tournament in Des Moines had Siouxland up bright, early and ready for a long day as 4 Siouxland squads battled through the semifinals.

First up, the Sibley-Ocheyedan Generals went to war against top-seeded Dike-New Hartford. The Generals would jump out to a 4-point lead early but would fall behind in the 2nd and find themselves with a 13-point deficit at the half. Sibley-Ocheyedan would battle all the way back to make it a 1-point game in the 4th, but Dike-New Hartford would just edge out the Generals, winning 61-56. After the game, Generals’ seniors Bria Wasmund and Madison Brouwer spoke about the team’s fight and the crowd’s energy throughout.

“I mean we knew when we were down at halftime it was like our Central Lyon game where we were down, and we knew we could get back up,” said Wasmund. “We never lost confidence and we knew we were still in it. I think our halftime talk gave us some encouragement and our coach told us to keep doing our thing and we did, and we gave it a run for our money I guess.”

“I mean it’s an awesome feeling when you make a shot or you get a stop on defense and you hear that crowd behind you, just screaming for you,” said Brouwer. “It’s like a second team out their encouraging you and uplifting you, and in spurts when you’re down and you need that the most it was there.”

Next up was the Central Lyon Lions taking on the Pocahontas Area Indians. The Lions would get up early and hold on through the first half, taking a 6-point lead into the break. Pocahontas Area would battle back with their full-court press and cut the lead to 4 in the 3rd, but the Lions would take off after that, and Central Lyon will be going back to the state championship with a 65-44 victory. Lions Head Coach Heather Grafing spoke after the game about the team’s philosophy going into their final game of the season.

“One possession at a time,” said Grafing. “We are not going to get ahead of ourselves. We’ve been preaching this since November, it’s going to be one possession at a time and make sure everyone counts. And I know these girls will be ready, and we are excited for the opportunity.”

In class 1A, the Remsen St. Mary’s Hawks took on the Bishop Garrigan Golden Bears in their semifinal matchup. Led by Iowa State commit Audi Crooks, Garrigan would jump out to a 24-7 lead in the 2nd and go into the break up 42-16. The 2nd half would be more of the same, and the Golden Bears would win it 73-39. Despite the tough loss, Remsen St. Mary’s Head Coach Scott Willman spoke highly of the team’s great effort throughout the game.

“We’ve got a team with a lot of spirit, a lot of heart,” said Willman. “And we’ve got a lot of girls coming back and they’re goal setters and they really want to achieve. I’ve got to give a lot of credit. You draw up plans, we ran a triangle and 2 which we’ve never done. It had its working points but what it gives up is the three shot and they played terrific on the outside.”

We wrap up our semifinal coverage on Friday with the Newell-Fonda Mustangs taking on North Linn. This one was back and forth early with both teams trading buckets early on, and they would go into halftime with the score all tied up. However, the Mustangs’ press would start paying off in the 4th quarter, as they were able to turn turnovers into transition buckets en route to a 12-point lead in the 4th. They would only continue to build on that lead and the Newell-Fonda Mustangs are going to the championship, taking down North Linn 66-48. They’ll take on Bishop Garrigan Saturday at 7 pm. Mustangs Head Coach Dick Jungers said after the game that although the win feels great, they’re focused on their bigger goal.

“You know we have to enjoy this one, but of course when you get an opportunity to play the best of the best you want to embrace that opportunity and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to play tomorrow night,” said Jungers.

Sophomore Kinzee Hinders also spoke about the excitement of playing in the tournament.

“I love it,” said Hinders. “I always love these tough games and the atmosphere. It’s just so much fun to play.”