Kiana Stanek shoots Cedar Rapids Xavier to the semis

Girls' state basketball: Saints hold off Grinnell, 60-55

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DES MOINES — Kiana Stanek couldn’t believe Grinnell’s perimeter generosity.

“I didn’t think they were going to give me those shots,” said Stanek, who was more than willing to make the Tigers pay.

Stanek scored a team-high 22 points, drilling 5 of 7 shots from behind the arc, and the sixth-ranked Saints made No. 3 Grinnell’s state-tournament debut a brief one, 60-55, in a Class 4A quarterfinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

“The only advantage I thought there was in state-tournament experience is that our staff had been there and theirs hadn’t,” Xavier Coach Tom Lilly said. “But coaches don’t shoot baskets.”

The players played and the shooters shot, and nobody shot like Stanek, who entered the game with a 7.6-point average. She hit three long balls in the opening quarter as the Saints (18-6) survived the absence of top player Lexi Noonan (foul trouble).

 

 

Then, with Grinnell (19-5) making a fourth-quarter charge, she hit another — an off-balance trey that made it 49-43.

“I was in the moment and thought I might not get that shot again,” she said. “The team wants me to shoot it. I’m going to shoot it.”

Grinnell kept fighting, getting within 49-47, then 52-50, then 54-53.

Each time, the Saints had an answer.

Kylie Brown hit from long range. Then Noonan had a key putback.

Finally, it was Stanek, Noonan and Maria Steffen, two free throws at a time.

The Saints won their 11th straight game and moved into Friday’s semifinal against No. 7 North Scott (19-5). The Lancers routed No. 2 Nevada, 57-27, earlier Tuesday.

Noonan added 12 points for the winners, and Brown supplied 10.

Freshman point guard Caitlynn Daniels had seven points and eight assists (against seven turnovers).

“When Lexi got in foul trouble, somebody had to figure out what to do,” Lilly said. “We made big shot after big shot.”

The opening half featured five ties and five lead changes, with neither team leading by more than four points.

Xavier’s top player, Noonan spent most of the half on the bench with fouls (she picked up her second with 4:45 left in the first quarter, her third at the 5:47 mark of the second), but the Saints survived it.

“The fouls were frustrating, but my teammates stepped up and hit big shots,” Noonan said.

Stanek said, “We were a little frustrated with her fouls, but Lexi’s really clutch. When she came back, it was like her absence was never there.”

Sienna Durr registered 26 points and 11 rebounds for Grinnell.

CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER 60, GRINNELL 55

4A State Quarterfinal, at Des Moines

C.R. XAVIER (60): Kiana Stanek 6-9 5-5 22, Caitlynn Daniels 3-9 0-0 7, Kylie Brown 3-6 3-4 10, Lexi Noonan 5-10 2-5 12, Amelia Ivester 0-3 0-0 0, Maria Steffen 2-5 2-2 6, Maddix Stovie 0-3 1-2 1, Emily Jasper 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-46 13-18 60.

GRINNELL (55): Macy Harris 0-3 1-3 1, Madeline Wilkins 2-7 0-0 5, Kameron Moore 2-12 3-4 7, Sienna Durr 9-14 8-8 26, Kyra Hungerford 3-6 0-0 8, Naomi Jackson 2-4 0-0 5, Megan Doty 0-0 0-0 0, Emilee Hulsing 1-1 0-0 3, Katie Cooper 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-47 12-15 55.

Halftime: Xavier 25, Grinnell 22. 3-point goals: Xavier 7-12 (Stanek 5-7, Daniels 1-3, Brown 1-1, Noonan 0-1), Grinnell 5-17 (Harris 0-2, Wilkins 1-3, Moore 0-4, Hungerford 2-5, Jackson 1-2, Hulsing 1-1). Team fouls: Xavier 16, Grinnell 13. Fouled out: Durr. Rebounds: Xavier 27 (Brown 6), Grinnell 24 (Durr 11). Assists: Xavier 15 (Daniels 8), Grinnell 5 (Wilkins 4). Steals: Xavier 6 (Daniels, Brown 2), Grinnell 10 (Wilkins 3). Turnovers: Xavier 13, Grinnell 14.

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

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