Prep Basketball

Montezuma gives unbeaten Central Decatur a test in girls' state basketball quarterfinals

Late free throws win it for Cardinals, 52-48

DES MOINES — None of Central Decatur’s previous 24 wins had resembled anything like this.

“We hadn’t been in a really close game,” Emma Atwood said. “Last year, we didn’t know how to handle it here.

“Tonight, we showed that we did.”

Atwood hit both ends of a one-and-one free-throw situation with 44 seconds left to give Central Decatur the lead for good, and the second-rated Cardinals outlasted No. 10 Montezuma, 52-48, in a Class 1A quarterfinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

It was the first time all season that Central Decatur won by less than 20 points. The Cardinals advance to face No. 4 Newell-Fonda (25-0) in a 1A semifinal at 3:15 p.m. Friday. Newell-Fonda defeated No. 9 Lansing Kee, 61-45, Wednesday.

“We came up here the last two years and lost close games,” Atwood said. “We didn’t shoot as well (from the free-throw line), but we made them when it mattered.”

Montezuma (20-4) trailed by 13 points early in the third quarter, but chipped away and took a 48-47 lead on Riley Gatton’s drive with 1:30 left in the game.

“The drive was wide-open a lot all game, and I just took it,” said Gatton, who scored 17 of her team-high 19 points in the second half. “We showed we’re a team willing to fight through everything and be the best it can be.”


Central Decatur had the final answer, though. After Atwood’s clutch foul shots, Erica Kauzlarich drew a charge on Montezuma sophomore Shateah Wetering — a University of Iowa commit — with 8 seconds left.

Alli Masters added two free throws, the last two of her game-high 25 points, then Atwood blocked Elise Boulton's 3-point attempt.

“It was a great thing, the fight we had,” Montezuma Coach Janel Burgess said. “The focus, the effort ... I wish we had a couple plays back, but we showed a lot of growth and maturity tonight.”

Freshman Elise Boulton added 11 points for Montezuma, and Wetering scored nine. Both grabbed eight rebounds.

Montezuma brings back three starters for next season.

“We’re going to work harder and come back next season where we left off,” Wetering said.


Class 1A State Quarterfinal, at Des Moines

MONTEZUMA (48): Shelby Helm 3-4 0-0 8, Cassidy Watts 0-2 0-0 0, Elise Boulton 4-9 0-0 11, Shateah Wetering 4-9 1-3 9, Riley Gatton 8-15 1-3 19, Mya Pargeon 0-0 0-0 0, Hanna Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Maddy Mckeag 0-2 0-0 0, Breck Goodman 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 19-43 3-8 48.

CENTRAL DECATUR (52): Alli Masters 8-20 6-8 25, Abbie Ridgway 2-5 0-0 5, Alliey Boswell 0-0 1-2 1, Emma Atwood 4-9 6-11 14, Erica Kauzlarich 2-5 0-0 5, Riley Bell 1-2 0-2 2, Alaina Applegate 0-0 0-0 0, Maizee Lindsey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-41 13-23 52.

Halftime: Central Decatur 29, Montezuma 20. 3-point goals: Montezuma 7-17 (Helm 2-2, Watts 0-2, Boulton 3-8, Wetering 0-1, Gatton 2-2, Mckeag 0-2), Central Decatur 5-14 (Masters 3-8, Ridgway 1-3, Atwood 0-1, Kauzlarich 1-2). Team fouls: Montezuma 17, Central Decatur 10. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Montezuma 28 (Boulton, Wetering 8), Central Decatur 27 (Atwood 8). Assists: Montezuma 4 (Wetering 2), Central Decatur 10 (Kauzlarich 4). Steals: Montezuma 2 (Wetering, Jones), Central Decatur 7 (Atwood 3). Turnovers: Montezuma 12, Central Decatur 7.

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