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Scoreboard issue forces Cedar Rapids Xavier to hit the road for girls’ basketball regional semifinal win
Saints hold off Wolves, 54-47, to get within a win of a state return
MARION — Tom Lilly has seen a lot of things in 38 years of coaching.
Missing out on a home tournament game because of a malfunctioning scoreboard was not on the list.
Well, that got added to the list on Saturday night.
Lilly’s Cedar Rapids Xavier girls’ basketball team was scheduled to host Marion in a Class 4A regional semifinal at the Ron Thillen Gymnasium.
"I've just never ever heard of anything like that happening," Lilly said. "When it turned blue screen it was like the kiss of death with your X-Box."
After some calls to the IGHSAU officials in Des Moines, the decision was made to move the game to Marion, which set back the start time by an hour.
The change appeared to throw the Saints off early, but an early second-half surge led by senior Kyla Mason and sophomore Libby Fandel allowed the defending state champions to hold off the Wolves, 54-47.
Xavier (15-7) advances to Tuesday's regional final. The Saints will host Western Dubuque (5-18) for a berth in the state tournament. The Bobcats upset No. 9 DeWitt Central, 64-52 to advance.
Marion closes out its season at 11-12.
“You work all season in order to earn home court advantage,” Lilly said. “It kind of reminded me of like being in a game where you have control, the other team comes back, forces overtime and then you have to play more basketball.
“That was my concern when we had to switch sites, but these kids have had some adversity to overcome this year. We lost four games in a row and we talked about handling adversity. We just decided to take the high road because there is nothing we can do about it.”
Marion was energized from the start, getting the unexpected opportunity to play another home game. The Wolves led 15-14 midway through the second quarter on a rebound and basket from Ella Bockenstedt, who led Marion with 19 points.
Xavier responded by scoring the final eight points of the half to grab a halftime lead. The Saints pushed the margin to 12 in the third quarter, behind Fandel and Mason, who had eight points each in the frame.
Mason was especially effective from the foul line, going 6-for-6 for the game. The senior finished with 18 points, one behind Fandel's game-high 19.
“We really like having Kyla on the line,” Lilly said. “She is a very good foul shooter.”
Marion fell behind by as many as 12 in the fourth quarter, but kept battling in an attempt to stay in the game.
Mila Van Weelden was the only other Marion player in double figures, finishing with 11.
Lilly is hoping the scoreboard issues will be rectified as quickly as possible.
“The powers that be have talked about Fed-Ex-ing the needed equipment,” he said. “It runs off a computer that is built solely for the video board. We're hoping it all gets there because our boys host a game on Monday and we wouldn't want to have to see them have to travel.”
Cedar Rapids Xavier 54, Marion 47
MARION (47): Natalie McAllister 2 0-0 5, Regan Rice 1 1-3 4, Ella Bockenstedt 6 6-9-18, Mila Van Weelden 4 2-5 11, Madeline Pavelka 3 0-2 6, Mallory Heinricy 0 0-0 0, Grace Stephenson 1 0-0 3, Sydney Andresen 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 9-19 47.
CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER (54): Emma Arnold 0 0-0 0, Libby Fandel 7 5-9 19, Sydney Huber 1 2-2 4, Kyla Mason 6 6-6 18, Lexi Turner 1 2-3 4, Aaliyah Beier 2 0-0 5, Ava Turner 1 0-0 3. Totals: 18 16-23 54.
Marion 4 11 17 15 - 47
C.R. Xavier 9 13 18 14 - 54
3-point goals: Marion 4 (McAllister, Rice, Van Weelden, Stephenson), Xavier 2 (Baier, A. Turner). Team fouls: Marion 17, Xavier 15. Fouled out: McAllister. Technical fouls: none.