Prep Basketball

Cascade wins a triple-overtime thriller in girls' state basketball semifinals

Cougars outlast North Union, reach 2A final

Cascade head coach Michael Sconsa celebrates with Cascade’s Abby Welter (50) as she comes out the game in the third overtime of their Class 2A semifinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Friday. Cascade won 62-53 in triple overtime. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Cascade head coach Michael Sconsa celebrates with Cascade’s Abby Welter (50) as she comes out the game in the third overtime of their Class 2A semifinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Friday. Cascade won 62-53 in triple overtime. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — They were short a player. A major player.

Guts, determination, heart, though ... no deficit there for the Cascade Cougars.

Abby Welter fit in nicely in an expanded role, and sixth-ranked Cascade dominated the third overtime and outlasted No. 10 North Union, 62-53, in a Class 2A semifinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Friday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

“(Coach Mike) Sconsa came up to us and said we really needed to step up,” said Welter, one of three Cougars to reach double-double status. “I thought, ‘This is my chance.’

“I never dreamed of being here in this role. It’s like a dream come true.”

Cascade (24-3) makes its second appearance in the 2A finals in school history; the Cougars lost to IKM-Manning in 2009. They’ll face No. 8 Grundy Center for the championship at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Spartans (24-1) knocked off No. 2 Treynor, 42-39, Friday.

Friday’s game was the first multiple-overtime game at state since 2004, and it was the longest contest since Ankeny outlasted Waterloo West in a five-OT 4A-semifinal marathon in 1997 across the street at Veterans Auditorium.

Cascade was without senior Abbie Ruggeberg (12.8 ppg) for undisclosed reasons. She was not on the Cougars’ roster Friday, and won’t play in the championship game Saturday.

Ruggeberg’s replacement in the starting lineup, Welter scored the game’s first basket. Then she scored five points in the final overtime as the Cougars pulled away.

“Toughness, grit, resolve ... I couldn’t be prouder,” Sconsa said. “Our kids rallied together today.”


And they rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit. Still down 40-34 heading into the fourth quarter, they scored seven straight points for a 41-40 lead, setting off a back-and-forth chain that extended beyond the end of regulation.

Anne Ryan’s 3-pointer with 3:15 left in the fourth quarter put Cascade in front, 44-42, then North Union’s Hallie Reese tied it at the 2:37 mark.

After Cascade came up empty, the Warriors (22-3) held it for 2 minutes in an effort to take the winning shot. They didn’t get a shot off at all. Overtime.

There, the teams each got two baskets, including a game-tying shot by Cascade’s Nicole McDermott with 2:15 left. After a North Union miss, the Cougars held the ball for most of the final minute before turning it over with 7 seconds left. Jordan Simon stole the ball on North Union’s final possession. Double overtime.

McDermott scored on Cascade’s first possession, and it stayed 50-48 throughout the second extra session. Three times, the Cougars has an opportunity to widen the lead, but missed the front end of the bonus. North Union’s Chloe Loftsrom scored with 15 seconds left to tie it at 50, then McDermott and Welter missed on the final possession. Triple overtime.

Rachel Trumm started the scoring, then McDermott hit a 15-footer to make it 54-50. After Samantha Hagedorn’s trey cut the margin to one, Welter converted a drive for a basket, and the Cougars made enough foul shots to close it out.

“A lot of people had to step up for us to win,” Ryan said. “Abby played amazing. She got us the win.”

All five Cascade starters reached double figures, led by McDermott with 16 points. The Cougars got three double-doubles: Simon (14 points, 11 rebounds), Welter (11 and 11) and Trumm (10 and 13).


Class 2A State Semifinal, at Des Moines


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NORTH UNION (53): Kate Anderson 1-8 0-0 3, Hallie Reese 6-15 1-2 13, Chloe Lofstrom 6-12 1-3 13, Breanna Anderson 3-8 0-0 8, Samantha Hagedorn 5-17 0-0 13, Victoria Laubenthal 0-0 0-0 0, Kaylee Tirevold 0-0 0-0 0, Brooklyn Prochniak 0-0 0-0 0, Hope Steinberger 0-1 0-0 0, Rory McClellan 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 22-64 2-5 53.

CASCADE (62): Nicole McDermott 8-19 0-2 16, Anne Ryan 2-10 4-7 10, Jordan Simon 4-15 3-4 14, Rachel Trumm 5-12 0-0 10, Abby Welter 3-5 4-8 11, Skylar Dolphin 0-3 0-0 0, Zoe Ryan 0-0 1-2 1, Morgan McMullen 0-0 0-0 0, Hailey Hannan 0-0 0-0 0, Robyn Takes 0-0 0-0 0, Mae Felton 0-0 0-0 0, Molly McElmeel 0-0 0-0 0, Jess Hoffman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-64 12-23 62.

Halftime: North Union 29, Cascade 18. End of regulation: 44-44. First overtime: 48-48. Second overtime: 50-50. 3-point goals: North Union 7-25 (K.Anderson 1-6, B.Anderson 2-7, Hagedorn 3-10, Steinberger 0-1, McClellan 1-1), Cascade 6-26 (McDermott 0-5, A.Ryan 2-9, Simon 3-9, Trumm 0-1, Welter 1-1, Dolphin 0-1). Team fouls: North Union 21, Cascade 8. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: North Union 44 (Lofstrom 13), Cascade 46 (Trumm 13). Assists: North Union 13 (three with 3), Cascade 7 (McDermott 4). Steals: North Union 5 (Prochniak 2), Cascade 10 (McDermott 3). Turnovers: North Union 13, Cascade 6.

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