116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Win or lose, Hannah Stuelke knew Saturday night would likely be the final game she’d play on her Cedar Rapids Washington home court.
The senior and University of Iowa recruit gave the home crowd one last performance to remember her by.
Sparked by a 17-4 fourth quarter run, No. 12 Cedar Rapids Washington outlasted Bettendorf 49-36 at home in a Class 5A regional girls’ basketball semifinal.
Stuelke, the state’s leading scorer, paced the Warriors with 26 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
Entering the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 32-all. That’s when Stuelke and the Warriors decided to turn it on.
“I just think that we needed to play our game and get back into our rhythm that we didn’t have in the first three quarters,” Stuelke said. “We really had to dial in and get focused.”
Washington made an adjustment to begin the fourth quarter, giving Stuelke more of the ball-handling duties. Stuelke guided the Warriors to a near turnover-free fourth quarter as the team committed just one down the stretch. Washington had 14 turnovers in the first three quarters.
“If she started in the post, they had an easier way of identifying where she’s at,” said Cedar Rapids Washington Coach Chris James. “So we thought it might be easier for her to get some looks starting from the perimeter.”
Stuelke had three rebounds within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter — all led to Washington baskets, giving the Warriors a 38-32 lead with 5:55 to go.
“We got some easy ones early to start that fourth quarter, and then we kind of seized the momentum at that point,” said James. “Our girls feed off of the energy from the crowd.”
Washington (16-6) didn’t allow the Bulldogs (15-8) to score a fourth-quarter basket until the 1:45 mark, making it a 45-34 game at that point.
“I think the key for us was just trying to get stops defensively,” said James. “That allowed us to get out in transition a little bit more and not let their defense get set.”
Lillie Petersen paced Bettendorf with 12 points. She was the only Bulldog in double figures.
After the game, it hadn’t quite set it with Stuelke that this was the last game she’d play in the Wash gym.
“I think I’m just excited for what’s to come,” Stuelke said. “I’m just trying to stay focused on that and worry about this year.”
She added that what she hopes Warrior fans remember her for is being a “team player and bringing everyone together.”
“I think she (Stuelke) kind of epitomizes our program,” James said. “She’s the hardest worker. She’s a great kid. She’s a great teammate. More than anything, she’s someone who kids can look up to and model themselves after.
“I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to coach her, as well as the other eight seniors that we have.”
With the win, Washington is now just one game away from advancing to the state tournament for the first time since 2013. The Warriors will travel to face No. 4 Pleasant Valley on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“It would mean everything,” Stuelke said. “We’ve never been there as us girls and it would be really cool to go.”
“Nothing I’d want more than to get these girls to Des Moines,” said James. “We know PV is a great team, we just have to keep doing it together.”