GIRLS' STATE BASKETBALL 2019

Grace Boffeli's strength and skill hurts Marion early in 4A championship game

North Scott post scores 21 first-half points

DES MOINES — Randi Wright’s aching knees are ready for some rest.

“I’ve pushed them pretty hard the last three games,” she said. “They’re hurting a little right now.”

Wright got the assignment on North Scott’s Grace Boffeli in the Class 4A final at the girls’ state basketball tournament. She knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

“(Boffeli is) a great player,” Wright said. “She’s really tough, strong. I knew it would be hard to guard her.”

Boffeli scored 21 of her game-high 24 points in the first half, and North Scott edged Marion, 50-49, for the title Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

“I was shocked that they came out in (man-to-man defense) and stayed in it so long,” North Scott Coach T.J. Case said. “I love that matchup with Grace. She’s going to get a lot of high-percentage shots.”

High-percentage, as in 9 for 10 in the first half.

“You’ve got to credit our guards,” Boffeli said. “They got the ball to me early, then when (Marion) changed things up, they hit some big shots.”

The biggest was Brooke Corson’s 3-pointer with 40 seconds left that ultimately amounted to the final points.

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Boffeli was the all-tournament captain, and was joined on the honor squad by North Scott teammate Chloe Engelkes, Marion’s Kayba Laube and Riley Wright, Mason City’s Megan Meyer and Sioux City Heelan’s Ella Skinner.

Marion has posted a 73-4 mark in the past three seasons, all of which ended in the 4A final. The Indians lost heartbreakers to North Scott in 2017 (in overtime) and 2019, and whipped Grinnell for the 2018 title.

Three key players — Laube and Riley Wright, plus Ella Van Weelden — return for another deep run in 2020.

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

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