Girls Basketball

Cascade claims a 2A thriller, 59-56

Girls' state basketball: Cougars keep it close with Central Decatur, then win it at the end

DES MOINES — Through raw emotion and a raspy voice, Mike Sconsa applauded his team.

“They’re a bunch of goofballs,” he said. “I think some of them are young enough to watch Spongebob yet.

“But they play well together as a team, they played through a tough schedule. And today, their effort was outstanding.”

In a Class 2A quarterfinal in which nothing at the line came easy, sixth-ranked Cascade knocked down three of four free throws in the final 12 seconds and tripped No. 3 Central Decatur, 59-56, at the girls’ state basketball tournament Tuesday morning at Wells Fargo Arena.

With the game tied at 56-56, Lisa Tucker hit the second of two foul shots to put the Cougars (23-2) in front for good.

Then, after a Central Decatur turnover, freshman Nicole McDermott made two more. The Cougars blocked a final 3-point attempt by Emma Atwood at the buzzer and marched into the semifinals.



They’ll face No. 2 Treynor (26-0) at 3:15 p.m. Thursday.

Cascade was 16 of 31 from the line, golden when it mattered most. McDermott made hers without a contact lens in her left eye.


“My vision is pretty bad without it,” she said. “I relied on my other eye and focused on a paint chip on the rim.”

Central Decatur (24-1) had obliterated its competition from south-central Iowa all season. Its closest game before Tuesday was a pair of 20-pointers.

“We’d been in a lot of close games. They hadn’t,” Cascade’s Abbie Ruggeberg said. “We were prepared for this.”

The Cougars scored 16 consecutive points in a run that straddled the final quarter break and led 49-41 with 7:25 to go. It was still 55-48 at the 4-minute mark before the Cardinals made a final push.

Raegan Boothe was fouled while taking a 3-point shot with 22 seconds left, and made two of three free throws to tie the game at 56.

“We came back with a little surge,” Cardinals Coach Curtis Boothe said.

“But the difference between (Cascade) and the other teams we have seen was their defense. They got their hands on a lot of passes.”

McDermott had six steals to go with her game-high 18 points. Ruggeberg added 13 points, freshman reserve Jordan Simon 10.

Boothe paced Central Decatur with 16 points and nine rebounds. Lily Simon scored 15, Ally Masters 13.

Sconsa was confident his voice would return in time for Thursday’s semifinal.


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“My grandma has some good remedies,” he said. “Besides, the kids know what to do ... defend and attack.”


2A State Quarterfinal, at Des Moines

CASCADE (59): Nicole McDermott 6-9 5-10 18, Anna Hunt 0-3 0-0 0, Lisa Tucker 2-5 3-8 7, Riley Takes 1-2 1-4 3, Abbie Ruggeberg 5-10 3-5 13, Zoe Ryan 0-0 0-0 0, Anne Ryan 2-7 0-0 4, Rachel Trumm 1-1 0-0 2, Rose Strang 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan Simon 2-2 4-4 10, Skylar Dolphin 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-40 16-31 59.

CENTRAL DECATUR (56): Alli Masters 4-11 5-5 13, Raegan Boothe 5-13 2-3 16, Lily Simon 5-11 2-4 15, Jentri Hullinger 1-4 0-0 3, Emma Atwood 3-6 3-4 9, Abbie Ridgway 0-1 0-0 0, Alliey Boswell 0-0 0-0 0, Erica Kauzlarich 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-46 12-16 56.

Halftime: Central Decatur 30, Cascade 25. 3-point goals: Cascade 3-14 (McDermott 1-3, Hunt 0-3, Ruggeberg 0-2, A.Ryan 0-4, J.Simon 2-2), Central Decatur 8-22 (Masters 0-1, Boothe 4-11, L.Simon 3-6, Hullinger 1-3, Atwood 0-1). Team fouls: Cascade 15, Central Decatur 20. Fouled out: L.Simon. Rebounds: Cascade 29 (Takes 7), Central Decatur 31 (Boothe 9). Assists: Cascade 7 (seven with 1), Central Decatur 11 (three with 3). Steals: Cascade 10 (McDermott 6), Central Decatur 7 (Boothe, L.Simon 2). Turnovers: Cascade 10, Central Decatur 15.

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