Prep Basketball

Sioux Center pulls away late from Monticello in girls' state basketball semifinals

Panthers' run ends in the 3A semifinals, 65-57

Monticello’s Taylor McDonald (11) looks to pass around Sioux Center’s Dana Den Herder (3) in their Class 3A semifinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Sioux Center won, 65-57. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Monticello’s Taylor McDonald (11) looks to pass around Sioux Center’s Dana Den Herder (3) in their Class 3A semifinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Sioux Center won, 65-57. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — It wasn’t necessarily the way they wanted it to end. But it was the place.

The ninth-ranked Monticello Panthers pushed No. 2 Sioux Center until the final minute before the Warriors prevailed, 65-57, in a Class 3A semifinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

“We gave everything we had,” said Monticello guard Taylor McDonald, who scored a game-high 26 points. “We didn’t give up until the final buzzer. But it seemed every time we got close, every time they shot, it found a way to go in.”

Last year’s 3A runner-up, Sioux Center (24-2) returns to the championship game. The Warriors face No. 1 Crestwood (25-0) at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Crestwood was a 72-48 victor over No. 8 North Polk.

Monticello bowed out at 20-6. The Panthers came to Wells Fargo, won one game and battled hard in another.

“In the past, we would come up here and play one good game, but we couldn’t put two together,” Coach Donnie Kremer said. “This year, we probably played our two best games of the season here.”

Trailing by 10 points on three occasions in the third quarter, the Panthers were within 53-51 when 6-foot-2 post Jordan Kuper came up with a loose ball and drove coast to coast for a basket with 2:50 remaining. But, like they seemed to do all game, the Warriors answered. Lexi Toering hit a 3-pointer to halt the comeback.

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With 18 points, Toering paced a balanced Sioux Center attack that featured four double-digit scorers. Shayla Post added 14, and Victoria Rensink and Jordyn Van Maanen tallied 13 apiece.

Monticello took a brief 16-15 lead early in the second quarter, but the Warriors scored eight points in a 45-second span and held the lead the rest of the way. Monticello never caught up, but never went away.

“We gave 32 minutes of all we had,” Lauren Ries said. “Every time we made a push, they’d kicked it out and it went in. It’s just something you can’t control.”

Sioux Center was 11 of 26 from 3-point range.

Kuper concluded a strong week here with 11 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. Ries scored eight points.

SIOUX CENTER 65, MONTICELLO 57

Class 3A State Semifinal, at Des Moines

MONTICELLO (57): Taylor McDonald 9-19 5-8 26, Maddie Fellinger 1-2 1-2 4, Lauren Ries 3-14 1-1 8, Maddie Lambert 2-7 0-0 4, Jordan Kuper 5-9 1-2 11, Caitlyn Cruise 0-0 0-0 0, Sydney Hansen 0-0 0-0 0, Carly Hayen 1-2 0-0 2, Gabrielle Steiner 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 22-55 8-13 57.

SIOUX CENTER (65): Victoria Rensink 5-11 1-3 13, Jordyn Van Maanen 4-12 3-4 13, Camryn Cleveringa 2-6 0-1 5, Shayla Post 4-10 3-6 14, Lexi Toering 7-12 1-3 18, Sydney Gesink 0-0 0-0 0, Alyssa Mulder 0-2 0-0 0, Dana Den Herder 1-3 0-0 2, Hope Arends 0-1 0-0 0, Mandy Sitzmann 0-0 0-0 0, Aftyn Vermeer 0-0 0-0 0, Kacey Hulshof 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-57 8-17 65.

Halftime: Sioux Center 38, Monticello 31. 3-point goals: Monticello 5-22 (McDonald 3-9, Fellinger 1-2, Ries 1-9, Lambert 0-1, Kuper 0-1), Sioux Center 11-26 (Rensink 2-4, Van Mannen 2-7, Cleveringa 1-3, Post 3-6, Toering 3-4, Den Herder 0-1, Arends 0-1). Team fouls: Monticello 16, Sioux Center 14. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Monticello 37 (Kuper 13), Sioux Center 37 (Toering 12). Assists: Monticello 10 (Fellinger 4), Sioux Center 13 (Van Maanen 4). Steals: Monticello 6 (McDonald 2), Sioux Center 13 (three with 3). Turnovers: Monticello 17, Sioux Center 13.

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

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