Prep Basketball

Marion completes hat trick vs. Center Point-Urbana, 56-46

Girls' state basketball: Indians will face Grinnell for 4A title

Marion celebrates its Class 5A state semifinal win over Center Point-Urbana at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Thursday. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Marion celebrates its Class 5A state semifinal win over Center Point-Urbana at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Thursday. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Here they are again, at Day 117.

The Marion Indians have been thinking about this for more like a year.

For the third time this season, top-ranked Marion was pushed hard by Center Point-Urbana. And for the third time, the Indians found a way to pull it out. Caitlyn Smith’s 3-pointer keyed a late-game surge as the Indians topped No. 5 CPU, 56-46, in a Class 4A semifinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Thursday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

“We’ve been working all year for this,” Smith said.

Last year’s state runner-up (it lost last year in overtime to North Scott), Marion (25-0) returns to the championship game at 8 p.m. Friday against No. 3 Grinnell (23-2). The Tigers downed No. 9 LeMars, 68-47, Thursday.

“It’s pretty undescribable to get back,” Chloe Rice said. “We’ve worked really hard, but we’re not done yet. We’ve made it to the last day. Now, we’ve got to finish.”

As it was the two regular-season meetings (52-35 and 53-50 decisions), it was a grind against the Stormin’ Pointers, who retired at 22-4.

CPU closed a seven-point deficit to 42-41 on Allie Wooldridge’s 3-pointer with 5:15 to go. Plus, the Stormin’ Pointers were in the double-bonus.

Wooldridge had an opportunity to put CPU in front with 2:56 to go, but missed two free throws. On the following possession, Smith drained a 3-pointer to push the margin to four.

“Randi (Wright) had a good drive, and that pulled my defender in on her,” Smith said. “I told myself to shoot with confidence, and I was able to hit one for the team.”

CPU was 4 of 9 from the line in the fourth quarter, and that stunted its upset bid.

“We needed to step up and make free throws, me included,” Wooldridge said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”

Laube’s layup made it 47-42, then Marion made 9 of 10 free throws in the final 1:28 to pull away.

Marion’s depth was on display again, with nine players scoring. The Indians committed 24 fouls, but with so many players to shuttle in, it wasn’t really a factor.

“It sucks to have fouls because you can’t be as aggressive, but since we have depth, we can put in fresh bodies,” Laube said.

Laube paced the Indians with 13 points. Rice added 10 (plus eight rebounds and five assists) and Smith made all three of her long shots for nine.

Callyn Fox led CPU with 14 points. Wooldridge registered 11 points and eight rebounds, and Adrianna Katcher tallied 10 points.

“It’s been a great group of kids, so this is hard,” CPU Coach Philip Klett said. “Only one team is going to be happy at the end of the season, and it’s not going to be us this year.”

MARION 56, CENTER POINT-URBANA 46

Class 4A State Semifinal, at Des Moines

CENTER POINT-URBANA (46): Adrianna Katcher 3-12 4-4 10, LaMia Sisk 0-7 1-2 1, Olivia Brecht 3-4 1-2 9, Allie Wooldridge 2-5 6-11 11, Callyn Fox 4-8 6-7 14, Carly Millikin 0-1 0-0 0, Raegan Dufoe 0-0 0-0 0, Peyton Kriegel 0-0 0-0 0, Madie Willson 0-0 1-2 1, Sydney Boevers 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 12-38 19-29 46.

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MARION (56): Chloe Rice 2-8 6-7 10, Caitlyn Smith 3-3 0-0 9, Randi Wright 2-7 0-0 5, Mia Laube 2-3 0-0 5, Kayba Laube 3-8 6-6 13, Leah Van Weelden 1-2 0-0 3, Maddie Knapp 0-0 0-0 0, Riley Wright 1-4 1-2 3, Sophie Willette 2-5 0-0 5, Ella Van Weelden 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 17-44 13-15 56.

Halftime: Marion 28, CPU 27. 3-point goals: CPU 3-9 (Katcher 0-1, Sisk 0-2, Brecht 2-3, Wooldridge 1-1, Millikin 0-2), Marion 9-23 (Rice 0-3, Smith 3-3, Ra.Wright 1-2, M.Laube 1-1, K.Laube 1-6, L.Van Weelden 1-2, Ri.Wright 0-1, Willette 1-3, E.Van Weelden 1-2). Team fouls: CPU 17, Marion 24. Fouled out: Wooldridge, Willette. Rebounds: CPU 29 (Wooldridge 8), Marion 30 (Rice 8). Assists: CPU 7 (Katcher, Sisk 2), Marion 11 (Rice 5). Steals: CPU 7 (Katcher 3), Marion 7 (Rice 3). Turnovers: CPU 18, Marion 18.

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

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