BROOKLYN – With 2 seconds to go in every practice someone on the Springville girls’ basketball team tosses the ball to the ceiling.
“It’s just something fun we do,” said Mikayla Nachazel.
Monday night at BGM High School, Nachazel let it fly with 2 seconds on the clock, in celebration of what was a fun second half for the top-ranked Orioles.
Springville (22-2) outscored Grand View Christian 33-19 after halftime and returned to the state tournament with a 57-39 victory in a Class 1A regional final.
The defending champs will take on Burlington Notre Dame in the quarterfinals at 10 a.m. Monday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Nachazel, a 5-11 junior, was dominant inside, totaling 27 points on 13-for-17 shooting.
Meanwhile, Grand View (20-5) – as expected – didn’t test her in the paint much. A perimeter-oriented team, GVC put up 22.3 3-pointers a game this season. The Thunder launched 29 in this one, hitting 11.
“I was a little bit nervous coming in because I didn’t know if we could cover four shooting spots with essentially three players,” Springville coach Nate Sanderson said. “Then when they went five out; then all of a sudden it’s four against five on the perimeter.”
The long ball gave GVC an early advantage. Two Thunder treys led to an 8-3 lead midway through the first before Springville settled in. After tying the game at 8, the Orioles closed the quarter on an 8-2 run and never trailed again.
Grand View got within 27-26 before Springville ended the third quarter on a 14-3 run. The Thunder couldn’t score fast enough – or get enough stops, for that matter – to come back.
“We just thought, if we can limit them to 33 percent from 3 and we can shoot – this is gonna sound crazy – we thought we could shoot 60 percent from 2, the way that they defend,” Sanderson said. “I had us at 63, so eventually the math is going to work out for us.
“If you let them just dribble as much (as they want), then they break you down and kick it out and that’s when they get a lot of 3s. We thought if we could get the official counting, we could get the ball moving a little bit.”
Despite it being an unfamiliar opponent, the Orioles clearly had GVC – a Bluegrass Conference school based in Des Moines – scouted well. Sanderson said the game plan was formed from film that included about a third of Grand View’s season.
“We actually had more film on them than anyone in our region,” Sanderson said. “So it wasn’t as challenging as you might think even though they were two, three hours from where we’re at.”
Rylee Menster had 18 points, including a handful in transition with six steals. She and Nichole Kane formed the top of a zone that, with hands frequently in the passing lanes, flustered Grand View.
Exasperated Thunder fans repeatedly shouted, “Shoot the ball,” as GVC looked for an opening against the state’s best scoring defense (26.6 points per game).
“We knew coming into the game that they were going to play patty-cake outside,” Menster said. “We were just going to wait them out and see what they would do.”
Raquel Dickerson led the Thunder with 13, including four 3s. Megan Stubbs, a 24.3-point average scorer this season, had 12, all 3s. She was 4 of 14 from deep, many from way outside the arc.
Springville kept running its offense, which often meant feeding Nachazel. She had 18 second-half points and the Orioles made 23 of 32 2-point attempts in the game. Alyssa Jaeger and Madi Wagaman each tallied six assists.
“We slowed down a little bit (in the second half), I thought, in terms of not trying to push the ball as hard,” Sanderson said. “And that gave us a little bit better spacing offensively.”
Class 1A Regional Final, At Brooklyn
GRAND VIEW CHRISTIAN (39): Emily Hurley 3-8 1-2 6, Raquel Dickerson 4-12 1-2 13, Meadow Seidenkranz 1-5 0-0 3, Sierra Tarbell 1-2 0-0 3, Megan Stubbs 4-14 0-0 12, Cara Arrasmith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-39 2-4 39.
SPRINGVILLE (57): Nichole Kane 0-4 0-0 0, Rylee Menster 8-12 0-2 18, Madi Wagaman 3-6 0-0 6, Alyssa Jaeger 0-3 4-6 4, Mikayla Nachazel 13-17 1-4 27, Sami Johnson 1-1 0-0 2, Katelyn Gloeckner 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 25-40 5-12 57.
Halftime: Springville 24, Grand View Christian 20. 3-point goals: Grand View Christian 11-29 (Hurley 1-3, Dickerson 4-8, Seidenkranz 1-5, Tarbell 1-2, Stubbs 4-12), Springville 2-8 (Menster 2-6, Wagaman 0-1, Jaeger 0-2, Nachazel 0-1). Team fouls: Grand View Christian 10, Springville 9. Fouled out: Hurley. Technical fouls: None. Rebounds: Grand View Christian 18 (Hurley 5), Springville 25 (Wagaman 10). Assists: Grand View Christian 8 (Hurley 5), Springville 18 (Jaeger, Wagaman 5). Steals: Grand View Christian 5 (Hurley 3), Springville 13 (Menster 6). Turnovers: Grand View Christian 15, Springville 7.