Prep Basketball

Burdened by the flu, No. 1 Cascade guts out girls' basketball regional final against Regina

Cougars advance to state for the seventh time in 8 seasons

MARION — They’re sick. They’re tired.

But as far as enjoyment of moments like this, the Cascade Cougars are anything but sick and tired.

“To make it to state four years in a row, it’s unreal,” senior Jordan Simon said. “As a freshman, I never imagined anything like it.”

Flu-ridden and fatigued, top-ranked Cascade gritted and gutted out a 47-36 victory over Iowa City Regina in a Class 2A girls’ basketball regional final Wednesday night at Linn-Mar High School.

“We’ve been sick as dogs,” Cascade Coach Mike Sconsa said. “We haven’t had the whole team together in over a week. Regina does an excellent job on defense, but we had a lot of uncharacteristic turnovers.

“We’re tired. We’re really tired.”

Sconsa plans to give his team a day or two off before hitting it hard again in preparation for the state tournament, the seventh in eight seasons for his squad.

Cascade (25-0) will face Denver (17-8) in a first-round game at 6:45 p.m. next Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.

Abby Welter has been one of the lucky few, avoiding the flu that has swept the team.

“It’s been in and out like wildfire,” she said. “It’s hard to get everybody in and clicking the way it’s been.”

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Welter certainly was clicking, hitting 9 of 14 shots for a game-high 19 points. Simon and Nicole McDermott added nine apiece, with Simon snagging 11 rebounds.

The Cougars used a 12-4 advantage in the second quarter for a 22-11 halftime lead, then put it out of reach with the first eight points of the fourth period, taking their largest lead at 45-24.

Regina (16-8) scored 12 straight to get within 45-36 in the final seconds, but Simon put a wrap on it by gathering a full-court pass and laying it in shortly before the final buzzer.

Simon was one of the early ones to get taken down by illness.

“I had it about a month ago,” she said. “It’s been hitting us hard.”

The Cougars prevailed despite 19 turnovers.

“We found a way,” Sconsa said. “We were very fortunate that we were able to put points on the board.”

Cascade shot 57.1 percent (20 of 35) from the floor and was close to automatic inside the arc at 17 of 24.

Claire Gaarde paced Regina with 10 points and seven rebounds. Grace Gaarde added nine points, Annie Gahan seven.

CASCADE 47, IOWA CITY REGINA 36

2A Regional Final, at Linn-Mar

IOWA CITY REGINA (36): Elly Gahan 1-3 0-0 2, Annie Gahan 3-9 0-0 7, Grace Gaarde 3-7 0-0 9, Claire Gaarde 4-7 1-1 10, Samantha Greving 1-6 4-4 6, Stephanie Stenger 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 13-36 5-5 36.

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CASCADE (47): Nicole McDermott 4-6 1-2 9, Ally Hoffman 1-3 2-2 4, Skylar Dolphin 1-5 1-2 4, Jordan Simon 4-5 0-0 9, Abby Welter 9-14 0-1 19, Alyssa Lux 1-1 0-0 2, Faith Bower 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-35 4-7 47.

Halftime: Cascade 22, Regina 11. 3-point goals: Regina 5-18 (A. Gahan 1-6, G. Gaarde 3-6, C. Gaarde 1-3, Stenger 0-3), Cascade 3-11 (McDermott 0-1, Hoffman 0-2, Dolphin 1-4, Simon 1-1, Welter 1-2, Bower 0-1). Team fouls: Regina 7, Cascade 6. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Regina 16 (C. Gaarde 7), Cascade 25 (Simon 11). Assists: Regina 6 (G. Gaarde 3), Cascade 8 (Simon 3). Steals: Regina 10 (G. Gaarde 3), Cascade 5 (Hoffman, Welter 2). Turnovers: Regina 15, Cascade 19.

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

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