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Mak O’Brien’s outside antics lift Belle Plaine
BELLE PLAINE — With Cedar Valley Christian focusing heavily on Belle Plaine's inside game, somebody had to be open.
That was Mak O'Brien.
'I was surprised how wide-open I was,' O'Brien said after establishing new career-highs in 3-pointers (seven) and points (22) in Belle Plaine's 54-46 Class 1A regional-quarterfinal girls' basketball win over Cedar Valley Christian on Tuesday at Belle Plaine High School.
'Once on an inbounds play, there was nobody guarding me, nobody around.'
Belle Plaine (16-6) finally got some breathing room with a 9-0 fourth-quarter surge and advanced to face No. 6 Bellevue Marquette in a regional semifinal Friday. Marquette (19-3) was a 65-28 winner over Central City on Tuesday.
The Plainsmen were playing for the first time in 11 days.
'We just kind of restarted. We got a scrimmage in, and we worked hard,' Belle Plaine Coach Andy Dahlquist said. 'And we have four seniors who didn't want to be done tonight.'
One of them was O'Brien.
The last of her seven triples was part of the pivotal run that began with the Plainsmen clinging to a 37-35 lead. After O'Brien's trey made it 42-35, Rachel Montgomery was fouled on a putback, but missed the free throw. Kenzie Mantz got the offensive rebound, was fouled, made both free throws, and the margin suddenly was 11.
'(O'Brien) just got away from us too many times,' Cedar Valley Coach Ron Slagle said. 'We needed to limit (Mantz's) touches, and we needed to know what corner (O'Brien) was in. We didn't do that well enough.'
Mantz added 10 points — all in the second half — and 13 rebounds for the winners.
The first half featured five ties and six lead changes, with neither team owning an advantage of more than three points. It was 21-all at intermission.
O'Brien opened the second half with back-to-back treys, but Cedar Valley (9-14) recovered and took its final lead at 33-32 on Maggie Cach's two free throws with 1:36 left in the third quarter.
Cach paced the Huskies with 15 points (9 of 11 from the free-throw line). Molly Hembera added 13 points and nine rebounds, and Emma Slagle added 12 points, all from long range.
BELLE PLAINE 54, CEDAR VALLEY CHRISTIAN 46
At Belle Plaine
CEDAR VALLEY CHRISTIAN (46): Elisabeth Fields 2-11 2-2 6, Emma Slagle 4-11 0-0 12, Emily Masterson 0-1 0-0 0, Molly Hembera 4-15 5-6 13, Maggie Cach 3-9 9-11 15, Candy Mafuta 0-2 0-0 0, Abby Pospisil 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 13-50 16-19 46.
BELLE PLAINE (54): Katy Ward 0-1 2-2 2, Ashton Bohlen 2-12 3-6 8, Rachel Montgomery 3-5 0-1 6, Kenzie Mantz 3-13 4-8 10, Mak O'Brien 7-13 1-2 22, Kalli Grieder 1-1 0-0 2, Shaylee Dodd 1-3 2-2 4, Dani Montgomery 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-48 12-21 54.
Halftime: Belle Plaine 21, CVCS 21. 3-point goals: CVCS 4-15 (Fields 0-4, Slagle 4-10, Hembera 0-1), Belle Plaine 8-23 (Ward 0-1, Bohlen 1-10, O'Brien 7-11, Dodd 0-1). Team fouls: CVCS 20, Belle Plaine 16. Fouled out: Cach, Slagle. Rebounds: CVCS 36 (Hembera 9), Belle Plaine 40 (Mantz 13). Assists: CVCS 6 (Fields 3), Belle Plaine 11 (Bohlen, O'Brien 4). Steals: CVCS 12 (Slagle, Cach 3), Belle Plaine 8 (Bohlen 3). Turnovers: CVCS 12, Belle Plaine 15.
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