CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids Rampage were taking a long, uncomfortable glance towards 0-4.
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TIPTON — Top-ranked Iowa City Regina is well past “just happy to get there.”
This year, the Regals are intent on making some noise at the girls’ basketball state tournament.
Junior Mary Crompton led all scorers with 24 points and helped Regina to its fourth state tournament berth in five years after ousting Bellevue, 69-57, in a Class 2A regional final Monday night at Tipton Middle School.
“We’ve had one goal the entire time,” first-year Regina Coach Jeff Wallace said. “We want to be the best team in the state.”
Wallace previously coached the Regals from 2000-06 and closed that stint with the school’s first state-tournament appearance. Wallace will lead Regina into another 2A quarterfinal on Monday, Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. against No. 12 Logan-Magnolia (21-3) at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Regina (25-0) has yet to get past the semifinals with the current group.
“It’s always been in the back of our mind and we’re ready,” senior Sarah Lehman said. “We’ve been there and we know what’s to come.”
Lehman scored 17 points, collected three assists and was instrumental in acquiring some breathing room for her team in each half. With the game tied at 29-29 in the second quarter, a Lehman steal and three baskets sparked a 12-2 surge and sent Regina to halftime with a 42-34 lead.
After Bellevue cut the deficit to 52-50 late in the third, a rebound and putback by Regina post Alex Wiese preceded a half-court desperation heave by Lehman. Lehman’s prayer hit the glass and flushed through the net, and the Regals’ lead was 57-50 after three frames.
“I was thinking, ‘I better just shoot this and hope it goes in,’” Lehman said. “And then it did and that was awesome. It really did help, but the crowd going wild was pretty cool.”
“It was just pure excitement,” Crompton added. “It gave us a lot of momentum going into the fourth quarter.”
Regina scored 12 of 19 points in the final frame. Wiese — a 5-foot-11 offseason transfer from Tipton — scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Crompton, Lehman and Wiese all entered the game averaging more than 15 points per game, which provides the Regals with a lot of options come state competition.
“It’s really valuable because they can’t focus in on one player,” Crompton said. “If you do that, somebody else on our team is just going to go off. It makes us tough to guard with a lot of different weapons.”
Sophomore Giana Michels scored 19 points for Bellevue, which ends at 17-7.
BELLEVUE (57): Emma Ketchen 6 0-0 12, Giana Michels 7 1-2 19, Kailey Miller 2 0-0 4, Camryn Reeg 2 0-0 5, Rebecca Schroeder 4 1-1 9, Lindsey Banowetz 2 1-2 6, McKenzey Till 1 0-0 2, Totals 24 3-5 57.
I.C. REGINA (69): Mary Crompton 7 5-6 24, Sarah Lehman 6 4-8 17, Greyson Dumont 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Wallace 1 0-0 3, Alex Wiese 8 2-5 21, Alexa Lehman 1 0-0 2, Lauren Gaarde 1 0-1 2, Katie Dunn 0 0-0 0, Totals 25 11-20 69.
Halftime — Regina, 42-34. Three-point goals — Bellevue 6 (Michels 4, Banowetz, Reeg), Regina 10 (Crompton 5, S. Lehman 2, Wallace, Wiese.
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