Cascade clamps down, then cleans up

Girls' basketball: Cougars stifle Montezuma, 49-34, for 2A state trip

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MARENGO — The Cascade Cougars made life rough on Montezuma, simple for the custodians.

Eighth-ranked Cascade held Montezuma to 23-percent shooting and eased past the Bravettes, 49-34, in a Class 2A girls’ basketball regional final Monday night at Iowa Valley High School.

“We were prepared. We knew what we had to do,” freshman guard Nicole McDermott said. We got stops, one at a time.”

Cascade (22-2) advances to the state tournament for the sixth time, the fourth in the last five years.

The Cougars will face No. 3 Central Decatur (24-0) in the first round at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.

“It was ragged at times, but we played very well defensively,” Cougars Coach Mike Sconsa said. “We limited their penetration and forced them to take outside shots.

“We are who we are — perfectly imperfect.”

Their celebration complete and their pictures taken (with blue pennant, of course), the Cougars headed to their locker room. When they returned, they climbed the bleachers — both sides — and picked up debris.

Given Cascade’s traditional track record of methodical pace and a stifling zone, the first two minutes were a surprise. Montezuma (17-7) traded baskets with the Cougars early, and took its final lead at 6-5.

Then the Cougars zinged the Bravettes with a 15-3 run. Abbie Ruggeberg’s basket at the horn made it 20-9.

Cascade led 24-14 at halftime, then built the margin to 33-16 on McDermott’s layup with 2:22 left in the third quarter.

Montezuma got within 10 points on three occasions, but McDermott’s drive and Anna Hunt’s 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter ended any suspense.

Neither team had a double-digit scorer. McDermott, Hunt and Ruggeberg posted nine points apiece for the winners, who also enjoyed a 40-27 rebounding advantage.

But the theme of the day was Montezuma’s 10-of-42 field-goal performance. Credit the Cougars; nothing came easy.

“We slowed their dribble attack, and their inside posts,” Ruggeberg said.

Shelby Helm paced Montezuma was eight points.

The Bravettes fell short in the regional finals for the second straight year; Springville edged them in a 1A thriller a season ago.

CASCADE 49, MONTEZUMA 34

Class 2A Regional Final, at Marengo

CASCADE (49): Nicole McDermott 4-10 1-3 9, Anna Hunt 3-5 0-0 9, Lisa Tucker 2-3 2-2 6, Riley Takes 1-6 2-2 4, Abbie Ruggeberg 4-10 1-3 9, Anne Ryan 2-6 0-0 6, Rose Strang 0-1 0-1 0, Skylar Dolphin 0-1 0-0 0, Jordan Simon 1-5 4-5 6, Laura Kremer 0-0 0-0 0, Danielle Federspiel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-47 10-16 49.

MONTEZUMA (34): Shelby Helm 2-11 2-4 8, Shateah Wetering 3-7 0-0 7, Riley Gatton 1-9 1-1 3, Saphire Gatton 0-3 0-1 0, Breck Goodman 1-4 3-4 5, Cassidy Watts 2-3 1-2 7, Hanna Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Mya Pargeon 1-4 1-2 4. Totals 10-42 8-14 34.

Halftime: Cascade 24, Montezuma 14. 3-point goals: Cascade 5-15 (McDermott 0-1, Hunt 3-4, Ruggeberg 0-1, Ryan 2-6, Simon 0-3), Montezuma 6-22 (Helm 2-7, Wetering 1-4, R.Gatton 0-4, Watts 2-3, Pargeon 1-3). Team fouls: Cascade 15, Montezuma 17. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Cascade 40 (McDermott 9), Montezuma 27 (S.Gatton, Goodman, Watts 4). Assists: Cascade 8 (Tucker 3), Montezuma 6 (Wetering 2). Steals: Cascade 12 (Ryan 5), Montezuma 8 (Wetering, Watts 2). Turnovers: Cascade 16, Montezuma 15.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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