Center Point-Urbana marches back to state

Girls' basketball: With 'hair on fire,' Stormin' Pointers down Mid-Prairie, 52-35

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WILLIAMSBURG — They call it "hair-on-fire" defense. And it scorched Mid-Prairie.

Third-ranked Center Point-Urbana forced No. 12 Mid-Prairie into 27 turnovers and waltzed back to the girls’ state basketball tournament with a 52-35 Class 3A regional-final triumph Saturday night at Williamsburg High School.

“It’s reckless abandon,” Olivia Brecht said of the Stormin’ Pointers’ defensive scheme. “Coach (Philip Klett) told us we had to play like our hair was on fire.”

A semifinalist last year, CPU (21-3) will make its fifth state-tournament appearance, its third in four seasons. The Stormin’ Pointers will face No. 7 Davenport Assumption (16-7) in the first round Tuesday, Feb. 28 at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.

“We’ve been there before, but it’s still an amazing feeling,” Brecht said. “This is just the beginning.”

CPU led from start to finish. The high-water mark was an 18-point margin at 33-15 midway through the third quarter before the Golden Hawks (17-7) made it semi-interesting.

Alison Butters scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to carve the deficit to 40-31 with 5:45 to go.

But Adrianna Katcher hit a 3-pointer on the next possession, then Brecht followed with another, and the Stormin’ Pointers were home free.

“We just had to keep doing our thing,” said Brecht, who led all scorers with 14 points. “I knew we still had it.”

Callyn Fox was a role player in last year’s run to the final four. Saturday night, she was front and center, adding 13 points.

“I wouldn’t take this back for anything,” she said. “It feels so great to be part of a program like this.

“We try to play good defense all the time. If our offense is lacking, we rely on our defense to pick us up.”

That’s the way it was early in the game. Mid-Prairie was 1-for-9 from the field with nine turnovers in the opening quarter, but CPU’s lead was only 9-4.

The Golden Hawks got within 9-8, then CPU pulled away and held a 24-13 advantage at intermission.

All three of the Stormin’ Pointers losses this year came against high-end 4A competition — two to No. 1 Marion, one in overtime to No. 3 Grinnell. They’re a threat to do big things in Des Moines.

“I didn’t care if we’d been good or bad all year. We had to be good tonight,” Klett said.

Hence, the hair-on-fire pregame comment.

CPU prevailed decisively despite a relatively quiet night from junior Allie Wooldridge, a Wisconsin-Green Bay commit. The all-stater scored seven points (taking just five shots), but distributed five assists.

Butters paced Mid-Prairie with 11 points. Addison Rath added 10.

CENTER POINT-URBANA 52, MID-PRAIRIE 35

Class 3A Regional Final, at Williamsburg

MID-PRAIRIE (35): Anna Vilovchik 1-6 1-2 3, Addison Rath 5-14 0-0 10, ShaeLynn Becker 0-0 1-2 1, Alison Butters 4-12 1-3 11, Ireland Hostetler 2-5 3-3 7, Delaney Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Caitlyn Riggan 1-1 0-0 3, Kessa Jones 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-38 6-10 35.

CENTER POINT-URBANA (52): Adrianna Katcher 2-6 0-0 5, LaMia Sisk 2-3 0-2 4, Olivia Brecht 5-9 0-0 14, Allie Wooldridge 2-5 2-3 7, Callyn Fox 5-11 3-4 13, Raegan Dufoe 1-1 0-0 2, Madie Willson 0-3 0-0 0, Karly Millikin 1-5 2-4 5, Sydney Boevers 0-3 2-2 2. Totals 18-46 9-15 52.

Halftime: CPU 24, Mid-Prairie 13. 3-point goals: Mid-Prairie 3-11 (Vilovchik 0-2, Rath 0-2, Butters 2-6, Riggan 1-1), CPU 7-19 (Katcher 1-4, Sisk 0-1, Brecht 4-8, Wooldridge 1-2, Fox 0-1, Willson 0-1, Millikin 1-1). Team fouls: Mid-Prairie 16, CPU 12. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: Willson. Rebounds: Mid-Prairie 31 (Hostetler 11), CPU 26 (Katcher 7). Assists: Mid-Prairie 3 (Rath, Becker, Jones), CPU 13 (Wooldridge 5). Steals: Mid-Prairie 9 (Vilovchik 3), CPU 13 (Sisk 4). Turnovers: Mid-Prairie 27, CPU 16.

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

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