Prep Basketball

Elkader Central seals spot in girls' basketball regional finals at the free-throw line

Hannah Erickson leads Warriors past Turkey Valley 43-36 in a 1A regional semifinal

Elkader Central's Hannah Erickson was 10 of 10 from the free-throw line and scored 15 of her 17 points in the second hal
Elkader Central's Hannah Erickson was 10 of 10 from the free-throw line and scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half to lead the Warriors past Turkey Valley, 46-39, in a Class 1A girls' basketball regional semifinal Friday at West Union.

WEST UNION — Word to the wise: Don’t get behind Elkader Central late.

The Warriors will break your hearts and your spirits, two free throws at a time.

“We love free throws,” senior Hannah Erickson said. “They’re easy points.”

The third-best foul-shooting team in Class 1A, 13th-ranked Central nailed its last 12 attempts from the stripe and pulled away from Turkey Valley, 43-36, in a 1A girls’ basketball regional semifinal before a crowd of 1,000-plus Friday night at North Fayette Valley High School.

“We’re a good shooting free-throw team, when we have the right people there,” Central Coach Mark Wiley said.

Erickson certainly fits in that category. The Wisconsin-Platteville commit entered the game at 77.2 percent, and was 10 for 10 Friday. She scored 15 of her team-high 17 points in the second half.

Central (21-3) advances to the regional finals for the second straight year. The Warriors will play No. 7 Saint Ansgar (20-2) at New Hampton at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Saints edged No. 15 Clarksville, 67-64, Friday.

The victor advances to the state tournament March 2-7 at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.

“We’re right back where we wanted to be,” Erickson said. “We don’t want to feel the way we felt last year (after a regional-final loss to Springville).”

Central suffered through a nine-minute scoreless stretch in the first half, and Turkey Valley (19-5) scored 11 straight points for an 11-5 lead. But Danielle Weber hit a couple of 3-pointers to get the Warriors within 16-12 at halftime.

“Those were huge,” Wiley said. “It kept the game somewhat close, so we didn’t feel we had such an uphill climb.”

The Warriors got level at 21-21, 24-24, 26-26 and 29-29, then took their first lead of the second half, 30-29, on Weber’s free throw with 6:12 to go.

Turkey Valley regained the lead briefly, 34-31, on a putback and free throw by Ali Hoffert with 4:48 left, then Central went 12 of 12 from the line in the final 3:11 to regain the lead, then stretch it.

Weber added 12 points for Central, and freshman Delaney Scherf scored all nine of hers in the second half.

Turkey Valley gave the Warriors fits with its press early, mostly in the form of Jaycie Byrne. The junior posted 18 points and five steals.

“Pressure is one thing that we have problems with sometimes,” Erickson said. “In practice, we tell our JV to keep pressing us harder, harder.”

ELKADER CENTRAL 43, TURKEY VALLEY 36

1A Regional Semifinal, at West Union

TURKEY VALLEY (36): Breanna Busta 0-2 0-0 0, Jalyssa Blazek 0-6 0-0 0, Ali Hoffert 3-10 2-3 8, Jaycie Byrne 8-12 2-2 18, Katlyn Baumler 1-11 0-0 2, Kara Reicks 3-12 0-0 8, Jordan Lukes 0-2 0-2 0, Kylie Wurzer 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-56 4-7 36.

ELKADER CENTRAL (43): Danielle Weber 3-9 3-4 12, Riley Schroeder 0-0 0-0 0, Natalie Schroeder 1-4 0-0 3, Haley Frieden 0-3 1-2 1, Hannah Erickson 3-8 10-10 17, Delaney Scherf 2-5 4-6 9, Abby Cummer 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 9-29 19-24 43.

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Halftime: Turkey Valley 16, Central 12. 3-point goals: Turkey Valley 2-15 (Busta 0-1, Blazek 0-2, Hoffert 0-3, Reicks 2-7, Lukes 0-1, Wurzer 0-1), Central 6-16 (Weber 3-7, N. Schroeder 1-4, Frieden 0-1, Erickson 1-3, Scherf 1-1). Team fouls: Turkey Valley 19, Central 9. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Turkey Valley 34 (Hoffert, Baumler 8), Central 30 (Frieden 10). Assists: Turkey Valley 7 (Busta, Hoffert, Baumler 2), Central 6 (Erickson, Scherf 2). Steals: Turkey Valley 11 (Byrne 5), Central 6 (Erickson 2). Turnovers: Turkey Valley 12, Central 16.

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

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