CEDAR RAPIDS - Earlier this season, a reporter asked Iowa City West boys' tennis coach Mitch Gross about the #x201c;triple crown#x201d; of prep tennis.
At the time, Gross dismissed the thought of winning a state championship in singles, dou ... »
DES MOINES — Less than a minute into overtime, No. 2 Turkey Valley’s Shelby Reicks made perhaps the most important play of her team’s 48-46 win over Exira-EHK in a Class 1A girls’ state semifinal.
Reicks got the ball off a pass from teammate Kayla Gebel at the top of the key. Seeing an opening, Reicks darted inside, followed by four Spartan defenders, who immediately closed on her.
Somehow getting out, she shimmied to her left, before turning around and hitting a runner to the side. Turkey Valley took a 46-44 lead and rode the momentum to a win.
“I knew I wanted to get a lead right away,” Reicks said. “I knew that would help us, we’re a team that’s good at keeping leads.”
For the first two quarters, however, both teams were hard-pressed to build any sort of advantage. Both defenses were smothering and shots were not falling for either team with much consistency.
Exira-EHK hit 9-of-26 from the floor in the first half while Turkey Valley made 8-of-29. The Spartans did ride their advantage on the floor to a 24-17 lead at the break.
“We thought we were in a pretty good position at half, honestly,” Turkey Valley Co-Coach Carletta Nymeyer said. “We were getting good looks, we just needed to be patient and keep working the ball around.”
The message worked. Turkey Valley shot 57 percent from the field in the second half and overtime, also getting to the line 11 more times than it did in the first.
A huge third quarter also helped flip the game, as the Trojans defense completely disrupted everything Exira-EHK tried to do. The Spartans’ perimeter game was nearly nonexistent, as the team went 0-of-15 from behind the arc.
For a team than came into the state tournament averaging over six made 3-pointers per game, not allowing them to hit a single one was a huge boon for Turkey Valley.
It was a testament to the tough Trojan defense, which caused havoc the entire game and forced 22 turnovers. Reicks accounted for six of those alone.
“It was really important to kill their momentum and help ours,” Reicks said. “By getting those, it was really important for us.”
Elli Winter was also a huge part of the Turkey Valley attack, totaling 13 points and 10 rebounds. Gebel also had 13 points and added six rebounds and a pair of assists as well.
Leading the way for Exira-EHK was Sophia Peppers, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds and sent the game to OT with a putback with 16 seconds to go.
TURKEY VALLEY 48, Exira-EHK 46
1A State Semifinal, at Des Moines
EXIRA-EHK (46): Sadie Schultes 0-0 0-0 0, Maggie Rasmussen 1-8 0-6 4, Mara Burmeister 0-4 0-4 1, Kealey Nelson 5-13 0-0 12, Sophia Peppers 9-16 0-2 21, Rachel Walker 1-4 0-3 3, Ellie Scultes 0-1 0-0 0, Leslie Caniglia 2-3 0-0 5, Totals 18-49 0-15 46.
TURKEY VALLEY (48): Kayla Gebel 5-12 0-3 13, Shelby Reicks 4-8 0-1 10, Elli Winter 5-11 0-0 13, Sadie Nymeyer 1-3 0-1 2, Morgen Kuennen 4-14 0-0 8, Kassidy Reicks 0-1 0-0 0, Lydia Schuchhardt 1-1 0-0 2, Katlyn Baumler 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 20-50 0-5 48.
Halftime: Exira-EHK 24, Turkey Valley 17. 3-point goals: Exira-EHK 0-15 (Rasmussen 0-6, Burmeister 0-4, Peppers 0-2, Walker 0-3), Turkey Valley 0-5 (Gebel 0-3, Reicks 0-1, Nymeyer). Team fouls: Exira-EHK 15, Turkey Valley 14. Rebounds: Exira-EHK 37 (Nelson 11), Turkey Valley 28 (Winter 10). Assists: Exira-EHK 6 (Rasmussen 2, Burmeister 2), Turkey Valley 10 (Reicks 4). Steals: Exira-EHK 5 (Peppers 2), Turkey Valley 11 (Reicks 6). Turnovers: Exira-EHK 22, Turkey Valley 14.
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