Five girls' basketball teams earn state titles
Dowling Catholic wins 5A title over SE Polk
DES MOINES (AP) — Audrey Faber scored 19 of her 26 points in the second half and No. 5 Dowling Catholic fended off No. 9 Southeast Polk 66-55 on Saturday night for the Class 5A championship.
Dowling Catholic (23-3) reversed the outcome of last year’s title game, won 43-34 by Southeast Polk, and claimed its fifth state title.
Luci Sarcone added 14 points and nine rebounds for Dowling Catholic and Hayden Butler scored 11 points.
Becca Hittner finished with five points but was named captain of the all-tournament team.
Sierra Mitchell came off the bench to hit four 3-pointers for Southeast Polk. She led the Rams (18-7) with 12 points.
Aside from Mitchell, the 3-point shooting that had carried Southeast Polk in the first two rounds of the tournament wasn’t there. The Rams finished 8-for-27 from long range after knocking down 19 3s in 43 attempts in their first two games at Wells Fargo Arena.
The two teams had reached the finals by combining to knock off the top four teams in the state rankings.
Dowling beat No. 4 Waukee and top-ranked Iowa City High. Southeast Polk advanced with victories over No. 2 West Des Moines Valley and No. 3 Waterloo West.
Harlan beats Western Dubuque for 4A title
Jess Schaben scored 24 points with nine rebounds and top-ranked Harlan held on in the final 2 minutes to beat No. 8 Western Dubuque 55-51 Saturday night and win the Class 4A state title.
Harlan (26-0) steadied after letting a 13-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter and claimed the basketball title to go with the 4A volleyball championship the Cyclones won in November.
Schaben, a 6-foot-2 junior who has committed to Iowa State for volleyball, made 10 of her 11 shots. She also blocked two shots and handed out an assist.
Rose Simon-Ressler and Megan Maahs led Western Dubuque (23-3) with 12 points each.
Zoey Weber scored nine for the Bobcats, whose rally fell short after they trailed 46-33 early in the fourth quarter.
Jordyn Moser’s 3-pointer capped a 12-2 run that gave Harlan its 13-point lead with 6:43 left. A little more than 5 minutes later, the Cyclones found themselves in a 50-all tie.
But the Cyclones did just enough after that to pull it out and erase the sting of their 53-52 loss to Cedar Rapids Xavier in last year’s title game.
Harlan worked an inbounds play from the sideline to get a layup for Schaben that broke the tie with 1:13 remaining. After Maahs’ free throw brought Western Dubuque to within a point, the Cyclones made three of four at the line to stay ahead.
Schaben, voted captain of the all-tournament team, helped by rebounding Western Dubuque’s final two misses.
Western Dubuque made the tournament for the first time since winning the five-player championship in 1987.
MOC-Floyd Valley wins 3A title
Katie Landhuis scored 21 points and top-ranked MOC-Floyd Valley survived a subpar game by star Alexis Conaway and beat No. 6 Unity Christian 63-57 Saturday night to win the Class 3A state championship.
Unity Christian slowed Conaway with a box-and-1 defense in the all-Orange City final, but her teammates came through in a big way.
Emily McDonald scored 13 points for the Lady Dutch (26-1), while Bre Harmelink had 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Conaway, who scored a tournament record 46 points in a semifinal win over Mediapolis, wound up with nine points, five rebounds and four assists.
Kassidy DeJong led Unity Christian (22-5) with 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting. Sophomore Anna Kiel had 18 points and grabbed 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. With the defense concentrating on Conaway, Landhuis found space on the perimeter and hit 5 of 8 shots from 3-point range.
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 the game hanging in balance, the Lady Dutch made eight straight free throws in the final 3:15.
MOC-Floyd Valley added its first basketball title to the two consecutive state championships it has won in volleyball. Conaway, who’ll play volleyball at Iowa State, was the leader on those teams and also has won three state high jump championships.
Conaway was voted captain of the all-tournament team.
The Lady Dutch lost only to Sioux City Bishop Heelan, which qualified for the Class 4A tournament.
Western Christian Hull rolls to 2A title
Jamie Gesink scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and top-ranked Western Chrsitian blew past No. 4 Hudson 79-55 Friday night to win its third straight Class 2A state championship.
Kenzie Bousema and Summer Jansen had 13 points each for the Wolfpack (27-1), who dominated by getting the ball inside and scoring in transition. Alissa Pollema, the only starter back from last year’s team, finished with 12 assists and seven points.
Lindsey Koch scored 20 points for Hudson (25-2), which simply couldn’t keep up with the more talented Wolfpack.
Western Christian had never won a state tournament game before 2012. Now the Wolfpack have won nine in a row at state.
Gesink scored twice in the lane and Bousema drove for a layup after a steal. Pollema’s steal set up Jansen’s bucket inside and Erika Douma and Gesink hit back-to-back 3-pointers, putting the Wolfpack up 51-27.
Western became the sixth team in the five-player era to win three consecutive titles. The Wolfpack’s only loss this season was to MOC-Floyd Valley, which will play for the 3A championship on Saturday.
Burlington ND wins 1A
Riley Kilbride scored 16 points and Burlington Notre Dame rallied from 12 down in the second half to beat Newell-Fonda 57-54 Friday night and win the Class 1A girls championship.
Kilbride sank the tie-breaking free throws with 11.8 seconds left, then stole the ball to deny Newell-Fonda a final shot at tying or winning the game. That left the top-ranked Mustangs as the state runner-up for the fifth time in five championship game appearances.
Kori Mesecher added 11 points and 13 rebounds for the third-ranked Nikes (24-3).
Claudia Larsen had 17 points and 14 rebounds for Newell-Fonda (24-3), which hurt itself by missing 14 of 25 free throws.
With Larsen scoring inside and guard Rene Maneman running the show, Newell-Fonda led 43-31 midway through the third quarter and appeared well on the way to ending its title game frustration, which included a 63-61 loss to Central Lyon in last year’s state finals.
But Notre Dame got back into the game with a 7-0 run late in the third quarter. It also held Newell-Fonda without a basket for the first 6:15 of the fourth quarter while opening a 54-47 lead, helped by 3-pointers from Kilbride and Courtney Coffin.
Newell-Fonda recovered to tie it at 54 on 3-pointers by Brianna Wells and Tayler Schrank.
But Kilbride drew a foul from Maneman as Notre Dame worked for a basket and made both free throws for a 56-54 lead. Then she made her big steal as Maneman tried to pass the ball into the post and Mesecher hit a free throw to finish it.
Maneman finished with 14 points, six assists and five rebounds and was voted captain of the all-tournament team.
Notre Dame lost in the semifinals in its first state tournament appearance last year. It went all the way this time — at the expense of a frustrated Newell-Fonda team.
The Mustangs also finished second in 1997, 2000 and 2008.