Prep Basketball

Mammoth second-half surge sends Monticello girls' basketball to state

4 players in double-figures for Monticello in win over previously-unbeaten Osage

Monticello Panthers
Monticello Panthers

INDEPENDENCE — Osage came in with the gaudy record, but Monticello hoisted the banner.

The Class 3A ninth-ranked Panthers began the second half with a 32-5 explosion and smothered previously-unbeaten No. 5 Osage, 59-33, in a girls’ basketball regional final Saturday night at Independence High School.

“We just talked about executing, taking care of the ball and taking our opportunities when we wanted to,” Monticello Coach Donnie Kremer said. “I thought we did a fantastic job of helping one another, limiting them to one shot and no offensive rebounds.”

The Class 3A girls’ basketball state tournament starts Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Monticello (19-5) is in the field for the fourth time since 2007, first since 2011.

“We’ve been waiting for this all season,” Monticello senior Taylor McDonald said. “Since it started, we’ve been waiting for this moment.”

Osage (23-1) headed to the halftime locker room with a 22-21 lead after senior Gabrielle Schwarting beat the horn with a 3-pointer from 30 feet away.

“Nothing really fazes us,” Monticello junior Madison Fellinger said. “We just came out and took it away from them.”

Monticello scored the first eight points of the game, but the Green Devils answered with a 15-0 burst. The Panthers later tallied scoreless surges of 9-0 and 28-0 to sprint past Osage.

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“We started out in 1-3-1 (defense) and they were hitting shots,” said McDonald, who surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her prep career earlier this season. “So we went man and that really helped us out. We were able to lock down on defense and get some good stops.”

The Panthers scored 38 of 49 points after halftime.

Only five players scored for Monticello, but four were in double figures. McDonald led all scorers with 18 points, while Fellinger chipped in 16. Sophomore post Jordan Kuper added 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Senior Lauren Ries had 10.

McDonald also tallied four assists.

Schwarting and senior Brenna Jacobs led Osage with seven points apiece.

CLASS 3A REGIONAL FINAL

At Independence

No. 9 Monticello 59, No. 5 Osage 33

OSAGE (33): Mia Knudsen 2 0-0 6, Rylie Olson 1 2-7 4, Gabby Schwarting 2 1-2 7, Brenna Jacobs 3 1-2 7, Madi Johnson 1 0-0 2, Melanie Bye 2 0-0 5, Dani Johnson 1 0-0 2, Sidney Brandau 0 0-0 0, Sydney Midlang 0 0-0 0, Totals 12 4-11 33.

MONTICELLO (59): Taylor McDonald 7 4-5 18, Maddie Fellinger 5 4-4 16, Lauren Ries 4 1-4 10, Jordan Kuper 6 2-4 14, Carly Hayen 0 0-0 0, Caitlyn Cruise 0 0-0 0, Sydney Hanson 0 0-0 0, Gabrielle Steiner 0 0-0 0, Meredith Melchert 0 0-0 0, Totals 22 12-19 59.

Osage 15 7 3 8—33

Monticello 10 11 22 16—59

Halftime — Osage, 22-21. Three-point goals — Osage 5 (Knudsen 2, Schwarting 2, Bye 1), Monticello 3 (Fellinger 2, Ries 1). Rebounds — Osage 21 (Olson 6), Monticello 30 (Kuper 9). Assists — Osage 7 (Bye 2, Jacobs 2), Monticello 8 (McDonald 4). Total fouls — Osage 22, Monticello 12. Fouled out — Schwarting.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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